True to their name, American band Hoth plays a form of melodic death/black metal that is sure to send some shivers down your spine. With their second release, “Oathbreaker”, the band delivers a substantial amount of bone-chilling riffs that are in line with what many other bands portraying a freezing atmosphere have done (Wintersun, Immortal, any number of melodic black metal bands). If there is one aspect where Hoth doesn’t live up to those other bands in this feeling is that they are playing the technically correct riffs to achieve the “cold” sound, but the atmosphere of “Oathbreaker” doesn’t support it the way that less-produced bands such pulled off. Similarly, they also don’t go the opposite direction with being completely overproduced and filled with keyboards. For this reason, the band relies more on the quality of the riffs than the aura they conjure.
The good news of this is that the riffs and melodies are fantastic. After only a single listen, any number of guitar lines are likely to be stuck in your head. On “The Unholy Conception”, Hoth shows this memorability through both distorted riffs and cleaner acoustic sections. This track certainly isn’t an anomaly in this sense (the very next song opens with a lengthy acoustic intro), but the band is at their best when playing with plenty of overdrive. One aspect of black metal that the band captures perfectly is the mid-paced drumming with wickedly fast tremolo-picking over top. This situation occurs a few times throughout “Oathbreaker”, and is always a highlight whenever it pops up. With that said, the band also makes use of blast beats, and also plenty of moments where they let some incredible tamer melodies take focus. The vocals on this release are more on the black metal side of things. They aren’t quite shrieks, but they have that twisted rasp to them that death metal vocalists often lack.
In terms of a singular comparison, Hoth definitely show some influence from Dissection. With that said, Hoth is their own unique entity. There is a certain complexity to their work that a lot of bands lack. Additionally, they are just more immediately catchy than many of their counterparts. A track like “Serpentine Whispers” displays this, which opens with a somber melody that is echoed throughout the track in a much heavier form. This song also features some chanted vocals later on, before a shredding solo. Overall, “Oathbreaker” is a great testament to both freezing cold extreme metal, and the great quality of the series from which the band derives its name.
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"The Unholy Conception"
4.3/5 or 86%.
Written by Scott