HOTH - Astral Necromancy
August 26, 2018, a month ago
First thing the discerning longhair notices upon checking out this third full-length from Seattle black/death band Hoth is the high-quality, and very cool, cover art, although it's not a huge surprise: the duo’s last album, 2014’s Oathbreaker, had some very cool cover art as well. The band kicks off this album with “Vengeance”, a fairly rote but effective melodic death/black song; it isn’t until the second cut, “The Living Dreams Of A Dead God”, that I start to really take notice, with the majestic melodic guitar leads kicking off what threatens to start At The Gates Gothen-death but turns to ice-cold Dissection Nordic black quick enough. The tortured-gnome vox aren’t really convincing anyone, but that’s a standard enough black problem, the ones on display here no worse than any of the genre biggies, the vocals really taking a backseat to the impressive music on display anyway.
“The Horrid Truth” takes things up a notch into blazing-BM territory, the band delivering a slick, smooth, and intense version of polished black that sounds like top-tier Century Black output from that era, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing; “Ascension” is pure black metal glory, this album actually getting better as it goes on, this song utilizing excellent songwriting dynamics to build and build and build, the way the best BM does. I’m not sold on the Viking-black chorus of “Journey Into The Eternal Winter”, but someone will be (and, I must admit, it got stuck in my head after just one spin, not bad at all). “The Void Between The Stars” creates epic atmosphere with some very cool, mellow guitar work and “Solitude” is a powerful, intense closer. All told, a solid, impactful black metal album.