Title: Astral Necromancy
Label: Epicurus Records
Release Date: 15 June
Format reviewed: High quality digital promo
A quick double-check on Internet shows:
- HOTH is an icy planet in the Star Wars movie fictional universe and the sixth planet of a remote system with the same name.
- Höðr (Old Norse: Hǫðr [hɔðr]; often anglicized as Hod, Hoder, or Hodur) is a blind god, the twin brother of Baldr and a son of Odin and Frigg in Norse mythology. Tricked and guided by Loki, he shot the mistletoe arrow which was to slay the otherwise invulnerable Baldr)
I really can’t tell for sure which one inspired Eric Peters and David Dees to name their band like this. Most likely it is the Star Wars movie, as in the beginning the lyrics in their songs were related with the movie, and later transforming into more occult and black metal themes. Actually the duo comes from Seattle, which means that the state can provide excellent enjoyable black metal, besides the big hype from the beginning of the 90s.
“Astral Necromancy” is Hoth’s third full length album, coming six years after the debut “Infinite darkness”, and four years after “Oathbreaker”. With eleven tracks resulting in 50 minutes total running time, “Astral Necromancy” is a very enjoyable black metal album. It sounds almost like in a dream at a time. The tracks incorporate typical black metal pattern, some epic moments, lots of melodies and solos, lots of not typical for the genre riffs. Variety is something which can be found easily in the record. Some of the songs offer slower tempo and other is on fire with the typical blasts for the style. The combination of both can be found everywhere though. Vocals are evil, crispy, screaming, absolutely within the black metal benchmark. Keys help here and there to create the atmosphere needed. From another hand, I must admit that I heard parts in the songs, which really reminded me a lot about Dimmu Borgir’s tracks from “For All Tid” and “Stormblast”, early Satyricon and Immortal. Even sound wise too. Actually, the sound is a bit weaker and lacks power, as the drums too – the album sounds naturally low and underground. This is my main remark about this album. Overal the mix is very good, all the instruments can be heard clearly
The dissection of the songs: The opener “Vengeance” is very catchy, with a great riff and melody, with absolutely fitting vocals (Stormblast). The song can be heard over and over again… The living dreams of the dead God” continue the line, adding some slower and chopped passages and acoustic middle, and ending furiously. “The Horrid Truth” is an amazing atmospheric black metal song which must be listened to at sunset, gazing into the snowy mountain tops and eternal woods!(For All Tid). “Passage Into Eternity” is mid-tempo, very melodic, pop black metal song. “Citadel of Necromancer” is a heroic black metal track with a memory of the middle 90s Dimmu Borgir, Satyricon, and slow Immortal. “The Gathering of the Accursed Artefacts” and “Ascension” are combining both slower tempo and fast blast, both tracks carrying explosive melodies and soul. “Journey Into Eternal Winter” offers active, rushing tempo and choir on the refrains, reminding of a heroic epic folk song. The seven minute “The Void Between the stars” continues to carry the epicness and very melodic solos in the (even poppy) beginning, while the track transforms into the black metal blast, suddenly cut by acoustic, balladic, love-blues part with clean solo and then back again into the fury. The album ends furiously with the black metal track “Solitude” with melancholy motifs from the north in the main black riff.
“Astral Necromancy” is a fantastic album for everybody who likes the melodic meaningful (black) metal with heart and soul, the variety. Winter feel the taste and reminiscence of the glorious atmosphere of the mid 90’s are here as well. Composed and played gorgeously, the songs come and go, having zero boring seconds at all. Captivating, icy, powerful and somehow carrying the cosmic darkness indeed. It is definitely among the finest black metal albums so far in 2018. Highly recommended 8/10 Count Vlad
8/10 To Greatness and Glory
**Please support the underground! It’s vital to the future of our genre