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HOG - Arahant

by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 03 April 2017, 7:42 AM

HOG’S debut album is an exercise in pummeling, relentless metal that doesn’t let up for a second; their sound is the audio equivalent of a jack hammer.    The exact second you press play the first track, “Serpent_Coil,” tears into you.  Ljunge’s riffs remind me of a mixture of LAMB OF GOD, BORN OF OSIRIS, and MESHUGGAH.  They are very heavy and down tuned, offering thick slabs of metal sludge to crush you.  The guitars are not as complicated or intricate as anything MESHUGGAH might do but they are no less furious. Andersen’s vocals sound like he is inhaling gravel and vomiting up little pieces of it long with the inside of his throat.  This is a compliment, by the way.  Again, he does come off as a mixture of Randy from LOG and Jens Kidman from MESHUGGAH.  He does clean vocals as well, although they are not over used.  His cleans are higher pitched and somewhat off key and unconventional. I could honestly give or take with his clean voice; it doesn’t take away from their sound but it doesn’t add anything either.

The second track, “Remembrance,” is a more up temp rager with some great heavy bass that further adds to the brutal sound of the band.  Zander really holds his own with the bass, facing the down tuned guitars and often times coming out on top.   Towards the end of the song, the guitars hit a nice sweet spot of down groove while Ljunge screams his ass off.  By the end, the entire band is one giant machine of pure rhythm, ending the song with a bang. “Devoid” is a really strong track.  The guitars weave in and out, the sound of the riffs stretching out and returning to the song just as drummer Mattias throws in some super tight, quick, double bass.  His foot work on the pedals is consistently intense and fast.  His snare and cymbals strike and crash as easily; he always has something going on in the song and doesn’t stop for a breather. If he did, he would probably find something to play during that one second breath.

The sixth track, “Patterns,” is the only time the band really bothers to slow down for more than a second.  Light clean guitar and bass open the song for about thirty seconds before it kicks in.  The band rocks out for a couple minutes before the song slows again into a dirty melodic yet creepy mid-section.  The bass has a heavy reverb sound to it while Mattias plays around with the kit, hitting sporadic and well timed notes until the song goes right back into being heavy.

Despite such strong framework, the band does have some falters.  I blame it on the down tuned guitars, but the songs do tend to run together and a few run a little longer than they really need to. However, this is one of the strongest debuts I’ve ever in some time and I recommend it for anyone who just wants a relentless and uncompromising album.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Serpent_Coil
2. Remembrance
3. Into The Chasm
4. Arahant
5. Left Behind
6. Patterns
7. Devoid
8. Zenith/Nadir
Niels Andersen – Vocals
Fredrik Ljunge – Guitar
Mattias Lundmark – Drums
Ulrik Zander – Bass
Record Label: Mighty Music


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Edited 27 January 2023

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