Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Hoth (review by MMB)

Astral Necromancy
release date: June 15th, 2018
label: Epicurus Records
The biography of the band goes something like this: Hoth is a black metal entity of two human secret agents in Seattle who supposedly go by the names of "Eric Peters" and "David Dees" and they do not like to tell other humans much about themselves and the instruments that they play. They do not play live and they have, according to Metal Archives, an EP, a full-length album and a Christmas black metal single, all in 2012; then in 2014 there is another full-length album, and now in 2018 they have another full-length that is some 50 minutes of music and 11 tracks (ten songs and an interlude). As far as finding out more about them, you kids know how to access the dark internet and hack into web space that you want: Investigate to your curious heart's satisfaction. Hoth’s walls of secrecy await your challenge.
Let's see what is going on with this album.
Hoth’s Astral Necromancy is a professional-style recording of melodic traditional black metal, executed at a fast pace, with some variations in the speed. The quality of the recording is up-to-date from the sounds of it and the band wants the listener to hear everything as clearly as possible whether the volume is low or high. They have in mind a recording that sounds good as an overall production. It is an impressive recording the moment you hear it because it is serious in purpose and effort. The hard work put into making the album seems rather obvious the instant you hear it. You will hear well the drums, guitars and vocals. In some songs there are keyboards, but it seems that this is not the case in all the songs.
The songs stand out for their immediate listenability and they maintain the quality of being able to sustain repeated listens, while also still fairly straightforward in their identity as songs, as traditional songs of heavy metal music. This is a very positive trait; the metal mind will recognize the songs and the body will respond in kind. You should be able to feel the songs, unless you are very hostile to all black metal in general.
One of the most noticeable traits of Hoth is their guitar solos and melodies. You can imagine the work it takes to have melody, real melody, as a consistent and central element in every song. The songs seem carefully crafted to highlight the melodies. Hoth is at a different level of functioning; speed and loudness by themselves are not the main attraction here. It is as if they were saying: So what if you can play a few chords? So what if you are loud? So what if you have learned to play fast?
Hoth seems to have asked themselves: Can you write a fast song and make it memorable? Can you play fast and find a way to have melodies, on top of the fast rhythms? That’s where Hoth is. This type of skill can be reached after you have played your instrument for years, have dedicated time to learning it well, and have decided that you want to be really good at it and see how far you take your guitar playing with the arts of rock and roll.
The rhythm section is so pleasant on the ears. The bottom end is a nice surprise. You won’t necessarily hear the bass lines like slap bass in every song, but your ears will sense and feel the bottom end. It’s the feeling that the recording sounds right; it’s a bit more of a subconscious vibe. The drum sound is the current modern sound that you find in extreme metal, whether in technical death metal or professional extreme metal that requires the fastest speeds. Of course, it’s up to you whether you like the drum sound or if it sounds too much like drum programming.
The vocals are classic-style black metal all the way and fit the music very well, and there are a few spots of group chanting, but not a lot, which may leave you wanting more. Hoth does not use melodic singing in the songs at all, from what I can tell, which is going to please the black metal die-hards and people who prefer bands who do things correctly and seriously, and who stick to what they do best.
This album is especially recommended for those seeking high quality in fast melodic black metal. In addition, any person who wants to hear black metal with a professional attitude, with a serious work ethic, might find this album to be a contender for album of the year.

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