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Hour of 13 - Salt the Dead: The Rare and Unreleased

Hour of 13
Salt the Dead: The Rare and Unreleased
by Harry Green at 16 August 2017, 9:20 AM

Although formed in 2006 in Hickory, North Carolina, USA, HOUR OF 13 often sound like very 90’s English doom, particularly with the well-honed archaic edge to the production. That said, they clearly do retain an American style (thereby most closely resembling THE GATES OF SLUMBER and to a lesser degree SAINT VITIUS) while the thin vocals work as a homage to Ozzy Osbourne’s singing in BLACK SABBATH, arguably the progenitors of doom metal. HOUR OF 13 have released three albums prior to this compilation, “Salt The Dead: The Rare and Unreleased” released on March 17, 2017; their self-titled in 2007, “The Ritualist” in 2010 and “333” in 2012.

This compilation covers a decent amount of ground within the traditional doom locus. Tracks like “The Correlation” and “Grim Reality” begin sounding superficially like heavy metal, but their hazy, dreary vocals, more laid-back rhythm and sludgier production mark it as a type of proto-doom. Similarly, “Hex of Harm” closely resembles EXODUS“Good Day to Die”, particularly in the vocal tone. “Allowance of Sin” site more comfortably within an established American doom tradition. “Call to Satan”, “Endurement to the Heirs of Shame”, “Grim Reality” and particularly all have more of a SOLSTICE vibe. “Missing Girl” maintains a doom style while adopting some black metal tremolo riffs.

The album has its weaknesses; some songs get repetitive. It feels a bit disingenuous to complain about monotony in doom, but it’s a legitimate gripe. If a regular song changes riff about four, five times in the space of three minutes, doing so the same amount of time in ten minutes still allows a riff plenty of time to breathe. That said, HOUR OF 13 usually don’t really overstay their welcome even in the less interesting parts. “The Rites of Samhain” is structurally uninteresting and gets a bit dull in the middle, but it also probably has the greatest variation in texture. For a band styling themselves as “occult metal” the temptation frequently tends toward monotony and lousy riffs buried underneath a landslide of effects. Thankfully, HOUR OF 13 largely don’t fall into this trap on “Salt the Dead: The Rare and Unreleased”. A lively collection of traditional doom.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 8
Memorability: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Call to Satan (Demo)
2. Submissive to Evil (Demo)
3. The Correlation (Demo)
4. Endurement to the Heirs of Shame (Demo)
5. Grim Reality (Demo)
6. Hex of Harm (Demo)
7. Allowance of Sin (Demo)
8. Missing Girl (Demo)
9. Call to Satan (Chad Davis, Vocals)
10. The Rites of Samhain (Chad Davis, Vocals)
11. Upon Black Wings We Die (Tribute to Jason McCash)
12. The Gathering/Call to Satan (Ben Hogg, Vocals)
13. Submissive to Evil (Ben Hogg, Vocals)
14. Grim Reality (Ben Hogg, Vocals)
Lineup:
Phil Swanson: Vocals
Ben Hogg: Vocals
Chad Davis: Instruments
Record Label: Shadow Kingdom Records
     


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Edited 22 September 2017
 

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