Having heard rather good and promising things about UK outfit House Of Hatchets there was genuine intrigue and a sense of real anticipation facing the band’s debut album, Reach. Across ten slabs of multi-flavoured alternative metal, the encounter swiftly revealed all the answers to any questions posed and yes the Edinburgh quintet pretty much live up to the ‘hype’ and potential offered.
Reach also quickly established that the band’s sound is a kaleidoscope of styles and textures, each track a twist from another revelling in familiar flavours and unique enterprise and all emerging as something as individual to House Of Hatchets as you can imagine or wish. A hindsight listen showed that the seeds and hints were already firmly sowed in the band’s 2017debut EP, The Grind and now in full bloom within Reach. As with that earlier encounter, the band has linked up with Romesh Dodangoda (Bring Me the Horizon, Bullet for my Valentine, Monuments) upon their first album, a release in full rousing voice from its first breath.
Moth Song starts things off, looming in from the distance on a sonic thread with soon reveals its melodic intimation. Finally face to face with the listener wires of guitar entangle with restrained but muscular rhythms, a confrontation which relaxes a touch as the voice of Chris Allison joins in and erupts in full temptation as the track instinctively bounds through ears. Even then it is a mercurial attack, ebbing and flowing in intensity and aggression as its unpredictable nature colludes with enterprise and an impassioned heart.
It is a great start to the release driven by the rhythmic powerhouse of drummer Frazer Parker and bassist Pete Cook; their muscle complemented by craft as echoed within next up Epitaph. Similarly the prowess of Allison’s delivery and tones are a potent essence in the track’s adventurous stroll, the guitars of Jamie Parker and Lewis Wheeler writhing and creating around all with sonic and melodic dexterity. As all tracks; it too is an offering which revels in its mix of metallic and melodic strains which teases of others yet never shares anything less than individuality.
The voracious instincts and contagion of The Sick And The Damned follows with its web of styles and adventure across a melody rich and unapologetically infectious exploration. A relentless temptation within which guitars seduce and sear, rhythms tempt and assault and vocals singularly entice and unitedly arouse before Lilith unveils its own sonic landscape of beauty and tempestuousness. For all their ravenous appetites and imposing trespasses, there is an instinctive poppiness to songs which is no better highlighted than with the creative and fiery cauldron of this excellent proposal.
Uprising leaps upon the listener next, its nu-metal essences colluding with crossover instincts as the song jabs and incites before sharing its full melodic anthemic roar. Hooked on its lures in quick time, the track only escalated its persuasion by the twist and turn, placing a firm hand on best track honours though quickly rivalled by subsequent incitements such as the following Burn. Ferocious in breath and intent as extreme and melodic metal merge, the track provided an invigorating and thrilling incursion to challenge its predecessor.
There is a somewhat calmer nature to Open Ocean, a melodic tide in sound and voice infesting whirling sonic eddies to break up an otherwise fierce maelstrom of emotion and intensity. It is a skilfully woven mix which if not quite matching up to other tracks just captivated before Black And Blue brought its tempest of sound and imagination to accost the senses. Virulent in every trespass shared, it too made a potent play for favourite song with the outstanding Asylum making another compelling declaration soon after with a voracious onslaught of thrash fuelled adventure.
Last One Lost brings things to a close, the song a beguiling melodic metal croon come insurgent storm with richly persuasive power in its voice and heart as the album makes a final turn in its constantly changing sequence of enterprise and adventurous sound.
House Of Hatchets is a band demanding and deserving of closer attention and their first album one which you can only see bringing that greater recognition. For all the great releases heard across a year few truly ignite real excitement levels but Reach is one.
Reach is released June 21st; available @ https://houseofhatchets.bandcamp.com/album/reach
Pete RingMaster 21/06/2019
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