Drawing metal-worthy inspiration from the infinite cosmos sure ain’t no chore. Just ask Seattle, WA’s black metal duo Hoth. The band take their name from the treacherous snow planet found in the Star Wars universe, and their whole schtick follows suit. While Hoth have moved away from the unapologetic Star Wars-themed lyrics of their debut album, they are still very much classifiable as space-metal, and damn does it work. Their specific breed of melodic black metal captures both the icy, cold darkness of the void and the grandiose beauty that is also found within. Throw in some gorgeous sci-fi album art and a dash of galactic-themed lyricism, and you essentially have Abbath in space.
Hoth will be coming out of a four-year hibernation this month with the release of their new album, Astral Necromancy. Following up on 2014’s excellent Oathbreaker, the band promises a concept album that, as per their Bandcamp page, “already exists in the crushing, unforgiving darkness.” I like a band that keeps their promises.
Album opener “Vengeance” is able to set a tone straight-away that takes you speeding past the stars. The first verse is immediately epic, and I never use that word lightly. The track is backed by subtle synths, and what sounds like less layering and echoes in the vocals than on the bands previous albums makes the vocal performance on Astral Necromancy their most present and threatening yet.
The second track, “The Living Dreams of a Dead God,” which the Vault has the pleasure of premiering below, ups the momentum with a crunchy, galloping riff, and a big ol’ chorus to boot. Take special note of the guitar solo, and rest assured that its blackened quality applies to every lead guitar moment throughout the album. Too many bands that shred as well as Hoth have guitar solos that sound like someone playing pick-up sticks on a fretboard, but the Seattle duo keep their leads coherent and structured.
Astral Necromancy gives fans and newcomers exactly what is needed, and that is a little bit of everything. You’ll find swaggering riffs backed by Ghost-like organs, leads and choruses that are tinged with triumphant medieval power, and heartbreaking black metal ballads that still keep up with the more breakneck melodeath passages. All of these elements are held tightly together by the perfect marriage of snarling, ice cold terrain and the unknown void of space. If you want to know what it’s like to be sucked into a black hole while simultaneously being impaled by a volley of icicles, check out our exclusive stream of “The Living Dreams of a Dead God,” then take the full journey when Astral Necromancy is released June 15th. This one is a must, folks.
You can pre-order the album on CD or digital through Hoth’s Bandcamp page here.