The Pitch: Icy Seattle black metallers Hoth return with Astral Necromancy, the powerful follow-up to the 2014 underground hit, Oathbreaker. FFO: Sacramentum, Windir, UADA
What I Like: First, can we just appreciate that the band's logo resembles a tie bomber? It took me this long to realize that. Aaaanyways, this is some wicked black metal that's colder than 10 Norwegian winters. With "Vengeance," the band wastes no time putting the listener to the blade. A quick inhale, and we're off. I know that the whole melodic tremolo-fest thing has been done to death, but somehow Hoth manage to keep it fresh.
Equal parts Emperor and Skeletonwitch, tracks like "The Living Dreams of a Dead God" hit some truly grand crescendos every bit as impressive as the classics. At times the glorious, dueling guitar harmonies even draw comparisons to the mighty Windir...high praise indeed. And while the band does just fine with its grim, croaked vocals, I appreciate that they incorporate the occasional death growl and chanting ("Ad Inane Precatio") to shake things up. The organ that kicks off "Citadel of the Necromancer" and jazzy solo on "The Void Between the Stars" are nice touches as well.
Critiques: There's a little fat to be trimmed here and there, but then again this album even flows much the same as the black metal albums of the 90's. I would be interested to hear them incorporate a few more surprises in the future. Maybe some additional instruments or synth.
The Verdict: Imposing, dynamic, and highly impressive; Astral Necromancy is the album where Hoth declares that the old ways are as relevant now as ever before. It's not nostalgia: it's a mission statement. F#%k the past and the future. True black metal is now.
Flight's Fav's: Vengeance, The Living Dreams of a Dead God, Journey into the Eternal Winter
- Review by FlightOfIcarus
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