A mind is a place unto itself, and can make a heaven of hell and a hell of heaven...
Better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven.
Satan, John Milton's Paradise Lost
A quote above that I tend to live my life by and one that seems most suitable given the recurrent theme running through most of the tracks from Hour Of 13. With heavily laden occult tracks and an accomplished musical style these guys have carved themselves a fantastic reputation in underground circles for their own style of doom/occult/satanic Metal.
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Methinks two words that shall be overly utilised during the entirety of this review shall be atmospheric and downright eerie. You can see from the track titles alone as to the direction in which we are about to be heading with these guys.
From inception, Hour Of 13 have produced widely praised material which has garnered success, especially as fore-mentioned, on the underground scene. As I have always had a place in my heart for truly accomplished doom Metal, I have got very high hopes for '333'.
Does it live up to those hopes?
Short answer, abso-fucking-lutely its does readers! From the outset what greets us in 'Deny The Cross' is a piece that sets the scene for the album in its entirety. A heavily laden, bleak beginning setting the scene for an audio delving into the macabre this track has a very Sabbath-esque feel to it.
Perfectly complimenting each other, the vocals and instrumental work really lends the listener a glimpse into their world of darkness and dread. True to their roots of occult themes, 'Hour...' has begun their latest collaboration in fine style.
Proceeding onwards we re-emphasise the whole theme of darkness, occult and macabre which the guys accomplish and convey with absolute ease. There is much of the album in which the Sabbath roots do tend to shine through in the atmosphere of overwhelming darkness that the music conveys but this is not a negative. Far from it indeed! Hour Of 13 are acknowledging their influences and then expanding upon them and delivering their own style, atmosphere and material in a way that truly holds the listener in a diabolical rapture which is consistently applied throughout the whole opus.
When you get the powerfully dark start of the track 'Sea Of Trees', that pulls you in slowly but holds you tightly, and then compare it with a more upbeat (but still immensely dark) opening to 'Lucky Bones' you see that, although the prevailing theme of the occult still runs through the album like the river Styx, it is atmospherically accomplished in differing ways to the same outcome.
Fans of Sabbath and indeed doom/occult/macabre/satanic Metal will truly love this album. I certainly will be adding it to my 'purchase' list! The talent on display here is absolutely fantastic. The ability to invoke, through all the tracks, such a dark, atmospheric and downright eerie (told you I would say it) scene is, in itself, worthy of high praise.
As well as this you have the chilling vocals and superb musicianship of the guys. All in all this gives Hour Of 13 an album to be proud of and one we should all give a little listen to.
The quote I begun with states that you can "...make a heaven of hell" and Hour Of 13 certainly have accomplished this with the latest instalment on their ongoing macabre and dark saga. They are a relative Charon (ferryman) on the dark river of occult Metal! Loved it!
Diabolically rapturous, atmospherically dark and often sublime.