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Hour Of 13 – Black Magick Rites Award winner

Hour Of 13
Black Magick Rites
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 16 August 2021, 6:59 AM

HOUR OF 13 is a doom metal band from the United States that formed in 2003. “Black Magick Rites,” is the fourth full length album under the banner.  The line up has changed over the years but the mainstay has always been the mastermind of it all CHAD DAVIS.  “Black Magick Rites” sees him handling all instruments and vocals this time around. At the risk of sounding like a huge fan boy, I have waited on HOUR OF 13’s “Black Magick Rites,” since 2012, which was the last time they released a full length album.  Color me stupid but after getting this promo a few weeks ago, I found out it was actually released November 1st of last year in digital format independently…for 24 hours only, for some odd reason.  This year sees the release of the psychical formats and another digital copy through Shadow Kingdom Records.

I miss Phil, of course, but Chad does an admirable job on vocals.  They are clean, a bit hazy, and have a slight echo behind them.  His style goes well with this brand of occult traditional doom that also has a 70’s vibe to it. As with any good doom of this style, the focus is on the riffs.  And there are a sweet ton of them to be had across the album’s seven track, forty three minute run time.   Chad nails down the sound with apparent ease, coming across old school yet still modern.

His Majesty Of The Woods,” spends over a minute hammering riffs out, complete with a well placed guitar solo. Chad’s vocals glide over these riffs while his bass and drums lay down a strong performance.  I love how hard he hits the drums, it is overly hard but it is a good, full sound.   This song gets heavier as it goes, especially the low end. If “Return From The Grave,” is in reference of the band itself, then it is as fine of a statement as they could make.  This is a powerhouse of a song that squeezes riffs in between the lyrical stanzas that helps the song flow wonderfully.  The riffs are heavy as a grave stone and the song is occult and dark but never anything but balls out doom.

House Of Death,” throws in abrasive groove and the drums accent them hard.  And the bass?  Thick, crushing, like a beast destroying all.  The riffs twist and turn like a serpent going in for the kill, all the while introducing moments of melody that make it all shine.  The song’s mid section is clever as hell those, those slight melodic chords and the drums turning the song into a little doom jam session. The title track is pure old school bliss that recalls the best of the original doom scene but also shows how much HOUR OF 13 has matured over the years.  The guitars have a climatic feel to them; the entire song is just quality increasing.  As the song comes down in the later half, Chad’s vocals coupled with the riffs make the song smokey—very cool.

By the time “Within The Pentagram,” comes on, the album seems to take on a darker tone.  The riffs on display are sinister.  The drums are a fantastic duo with the vocals—-Chad very much understands how to make the drums interesting and hold the foundation of the song while also being more than that.  The solo is both majestic and twisted, coming in and out the song as just the right time. “Harvest Night,” has rolling riffs that had my body moving while typing this, my head just gong up and down.  I can see this song being a big hit live, there are just so many moments where you want to jump wildly like a madman.

How do you end such a great frickin album?  With “Mystical Hall Of Dreams,” that’s how.  The opening riffs sound ancient and arcane, in a good way of course.  The sound is slow and deep, the riffs just grinding down over and over.  Around the five minute mark, things open up a bit with a slightly tempo change and different riffing that is rapid in places but steady in others. It would be hard pressed for bands to put out such high quality after such a gap between albums but HOUR OF 13 prevailed and give us an example of a darkest hour not always being a bad thing.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. His Majesty of the Wood
2. Return from the Grave
3. House of Death
4. Black Magick Rites
5. Within the Pentagram
6. Harvest Night
7. The Mystical Hall of Dreams
Lineup:
Chad David – All Vocals, All Instruments
Record Label: Shadow Kingdom
     


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