When the violent hordes are determined to keep the sides of Death Metal and Black Metal apart, it is the more interesting bands that play into the crossover of Blackened Death Metal. Taking that down tuned and deep guttural sounds into what is otherwise essentially Black Metal seems to repeatedly come up with striking bands. Hath make their debut with Of Rot and Ruin on 12th April and fit within the idea of Blackened Death Metal but can it make a mark?
It is a long album and to get an idea of their style, there are all the hallmarks of Blackened Death Metal with an almost Vader sounding vocal style with a bit of Bloodbath in there for good measure. This ferocity doesn't leave behind some of the evil atmospheres. The punishment of aggressive sounding music comes with a mind to supplement not overpower. Riffs might break to, or even start with, ongoing blast-beats, but they take to an accomplished groove that gives each song a lot more flavour. This supports a vocal style which drives the point home with an energetically feral glee.
With many bands like this, there is a reliance on blunt force trauma wall of sounds and sustained overpowering hordes of violent music, but after the pain is over there is nothing. This can sometimes work but can sometimes leave no mark. Each song within Of Rot and Ruin seem to manage to boast their length not be hindered by it. Despite the moments of Extreme Metal, there is a versatility within each song, and between the songs, to allow the album to evolve in a way that makes sense. 'Withered' and 'Worlds Within' mark much needed breaks into slower and more melodic moments, whilst cornerstones of the album are ferocious but varied enough to be distinctly memorable like 'Usurpation', 'Rituals' or 'Accursed'.
The refined sounds of sheer brutality are never without losing their rough and raw nature. Reminding how God Dethroned manage to keep their Melodic Death Metal decidedly so rough, whilst Bloodbath are a throwback to the ugly sounds of early Death Metal but sometimes can't help but to be too produced to be just that raw. Here, is a good example of how these bands force the extreme styles of Metal together. The melodic and atmospheric moments are never too prominent, listeners will return for the groove and raw sounds and the, so disgusting its complimenting, vocal styling – keeping some boasting gutturals in for good measure. Hath might not be an immediately memorable affair but there's a lot more there, in sustainable power.