The first time I heard Hoth, I wrote them off. I mean, its obvious that their logo is a tie-fighter and the moniker represents the origin point for The Empire Strikes Back, but Star Wars is a pretty sore subject for a lot of people right now, so let’s not even bring that up.
What I’m getting here is a rather intriguing black metal album that explores traditional folk elements as well as other bells and whistles, moving itself past whatever in the hell they were attempting last time around. “Vegeance” was pretty straight-forward with its black metal elements, the vocals highly understandable in the mix and on a much better level than most of our albums (that’s my fault, by the way). “The Living Dreams Of A Dead God” seems to add more thrash elements to the mix, though doubles with what I’d consider a melodeath feel in the chorus. Not too bad. “Passage Into Entropy” sounds like Ghost may have had something to do with it, or perhaps Blue Oyster Cult. There’s a slight prog rock feel to it, which I feel gets better when the solos that even Immortal‘s new album lacked manage to pepper up the performance a myriad more than some of the progenitors responsible for this genre. And hell, Immortal doesn’t even use a drum machine. So a guy and a drum machine can make a better album than Immortal, it would seem. If the psychedelic elements weren’t enough, the whole thing goes “gloomy church organ” right before it ends, adding even more spice to an already pleasant performance. As we get into “Journey Into The Eternal Winter” I’m reminded of Battlelore a bit, or perhaps just Lord Of The Rings in general as the folk-inspired male clean vocal chorus comes into play.
If there’s anything that I can say about this album, it is that Astral Necromancy is filled to the brim with blast beats and clean melodies, in addition to more than just a few solo moments. Though it is obvious that a drum machine/programmed drums are utilized here, that doesn’t take away my enjoyment of the album and it’s rather grandiose take on black metal. Although many of the tracks here offered little new, I did manage to find a few noticeable pieces here and there that make Hoth a band worth keeping my eyes on. I know for sure that he’ll never deviate completely from the black metal approach that inspired the band to begin with, but it’s also quite obvious that he wants to do a hell of a lot more with it than it’s pioneers. Not as much as Dimmu Borgir obviously, who have gone out of their way to make something that I do not hate – though am still very mixed about – but a sound that feels like it has achieved more within the black metal spectrum than do many other bands in this particular genre. Give it a listen over at the link and let me know what you think!
(11 Tracks, 50:00)
Purchase HERE (Bandcamp)