Hath - Of Rot and Ruin - (9/10)
Published on March 7, 2019
From the underground death metal scene of New Jersey in USA emerged the young and very promising “Hath” with their debut album coming on April 12th through Willowtip records. Through a blend of forceful death metal with hints of black metal techniques and a very raw and dry production, “Of Rot and Ruin” easily sets itself as one of the darkest and most aggressive albums I’ve heard recently. Just a couple of minutes into the first song the talent of this band is undeniable.The music is extremely intense, fast and technically challenging on all instruments proving that these are not just a bunch of dudes making noise but genuinely skilled musicians who really know what they are doing. The album is dominated by heavy and intense riffs and drums but also makes use of a little melody from time to time.
Let’s give credit where credit is due. The drummer is a beast. In fact, the drum parts were the first thing that grabbed my attention and definitely the most important element in pushing the rage and brutality of the whole band through the roof. While blast beats are always a good hint that you’re listening to a seriously skilled drummer, this guy goes much further. His style is very dynamic and precise with the double kick starting and stopping at unpredictable moments and constant pattern changes that reminded me of Krimh Lechner from Septicflesh. However, the integration of blast beats and of the black metal style in this seriously unpredictable music also got me thinking about Namtar from Carach Angren. The dude’s also got some crazy endurance being able to keep up difficult techniques at fast tempos almost throughout a full song. And their songs are over six minutes long. But the other guys are amazing too. The guitar riffs are seriously fast going from chugs and fixed death metal patterns to tremolo picking and more all over the place stuff and the solos are seriously intense both in technique (there’s really fast shredding, tapping, sweeps and what not) and in expression, giving some screeching melodies. I also liked that despite not having a hi-fi production they could make the bass come through. The vocals aren’t that much my thing though. This is obviously a subjective matter because they’re definitely well-executed with a pretty wide array of tones from more deep and guttural growls to high pitched screams and even black metal shrieking. But upon music that is already so harsh and aggressive, this vocal doesn’t seem to add too much to the whole sound. With the ongoing grind of blast beats, the barking guitar effect with loads of gain and the screaming, it gets a bit too much and the album would tend to get a bit stale.
But it’s ok because they found a way to counterbalance that. Although not very prominent and only present in small amounts, they added some parts of clean guitar that create some groove. This is also where the bass is most skillfully integrated as it is not only more audible but also more melodic as opposed to the pounding that dominates the heavy side. The two minute instrumental track “Kindling” is definitely the best breather you get and also works a bit like an interlude that splits the album in two parts. Also the track “Worlds Within” needs a mention for being the most stand-out of all the songs thanks to a clever blend of their savage style with the tuned down clean sections. They even added a bass solo that flows into the most unusual guitar leads on the album with less technique and a slightly bluesy feel.
The album has a little variety and some unexpected twists but at the core it remains all about relentless, uncompromising aggression. The atmosphere isn’t only dark but also has a sort of bitterness that really connects the vibe of the album to the cover artwork. It feels sickening and deathly and with the bells sound used both for intro and outro it creates this ominous and menacing feel of a dark ritual. Piecing this type of black metal manifestation into an unaltered death metal styled composition makes “Of Rot and Ruin” a furious display of skill as well as creativity that should appeal to fans of both genres effortlessly.