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Hour Of 13 - Black Magick Rites review




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Band: Hour Of 13
Album: Black Magick Rites
Release date: November 2020


01. His Majesty Of The Wood
02. Return From The Grave
03. House Of Death
04. Black Magick Rites
05. Within The Pentagram
06. Harvest Night
07. The Mystical Hall Of Dreams


This is a record that was digitally released on November 1st, 2020, for just 24 hours. For those of you that missed it, Black Magick Rites is out on August 27th via Shadow Kingdom Records, the label that released the band's self-titled debut album back in 2007.

Hour Of 13's cult-minded traditional doom has been resonating with metal fans of the style around the world since the band's inception. Being one of their fans myself, I was filled with anticipation for the follow-up to 333 which had come out in the distant 2012. Eight or nine years of wait is a long time to be deprived of this primitive, occult, old British metal-loving (Black Sabbath, Pagan Altar, Witchfinder General, etc.), deathrock-touching, doom fix.

Hour Of 13 is basically the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Chad Davis. On this album he handles not only all instruments, but also all vocals for the first time. Phil Swanson, who was the vocalist on the three previous albums, is the person sorely missing from Black Magick Rites because Chad Davis isn't a competent singer. Swanson's voice added a certain distinct element and was very alchemical to the sound of Hour Of 13. In the past, he was in and out of the band all the time but he was always there for the album recordings. Now he is not and it shows. Chad Davis's vocals sound very soulless, monotonous, and outright annoying to my ears. Neither the reverb nor the double-tracking improve anything (quite the opposite) or change the fact that he should not be singing.

I find it very difficult to judge the music under these conditions but it feels to me that this is the least inspired Hour Of 13 album up till now. The opening track is the best on offer; it has nice doom riffs right from the get-go, accompanied by a short '70s type of solo, and another cool little solo is used for the outro. Everything that follows is more or less inferior. The album flows in a trudging pace which is expected for doom metal but this is not the doom metal that Hour Of 13 is known for. Upbeat tempos are missing, the riffs do not stand out the way they used to and most of the album goes by with little variation. "Harvest Night" tries to spice things up a bit and it kind of succeeds. But I cannot shake off the feeling that this album could and should have been far better.

The songs feel like they play longer than they have the right to. For example, "House Of Death"'s 7-minute duration is not justified by what is going on while the song unfolds. The riff from 3'15'' to 4'00'' creates anticipation for something grand that just does not come. During its last 40 seconds we hear Davis irritatingly repeating the lyrics "Come, come, come into this house of death". Similarly the 8-minute closer plods under the weight of the same riff for the first 3 minutes or so and then there is this Killing Joke-ish bridge that goes on for over a minute and a half, which culminates into a cool riff that is ruined by the poor vocals. What is worse is - again - that for the last minute of the song Davis repeats the phrase "Into the night" only to thoroughly convince me that I don't want to listen to his voice ever again.

This review probably comes across as very negative - and it is - but bear in mind that underwhelming Hour Of 13 is still somehow solid and serviceable doom. However, this band has been so much more than just 'solid' and 'serviceable' in the past. I cannot exactly say how this would be digested with Phil on vocals but I know that it would have been far more listenable for sure. The music is not stellar by any means, but with a proper vocalist Black Magick Rites would have been less disappointing.





Written on 25.08.2021 by Only way to feel the noise is when it's good and loud!


Comments

Comments: 8   Visited by: 85 users
25.08.2021 - 11:50
nikarg
Mod
For good doom check out what Phil Swanson was involved in earlier this month over here. We would feature Solemn Lament in the next Clandestine Cuts but it has already found a label (Sword Worship Records) for a cassette release.
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25.08.2021 - 18:28
BitterCOld
The Ancient One
Was gonna read this, but had to pause and wait another 33 minutes for it to hit, well, the 13th hour. Hooray 24 hour clock.
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get the fuck off my lawn.

Beer Bug Virus Spotify Playlist crafted by Nikarg and I. Feel free to tune in and add some pertinent metal tunes!
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25.08.2021 - 20:39
HourOf13

I appreciate your honest review of this album but I also think you have completely missed the point of this album. You're obviously stuck in the mindset of a time passed, and therefore do not understand what this album stands for. While I hope that older fans would enjoy new works as much as the troubled times of the old ones, these records aren't created to please everyone. Glad to know that people still listen, but saddened that the comparisons made are to times passed and not of their own merit. Perhaps it's over your head, or your position is skewed with pre-existing words from other "parties". Either way I'm glad I made an album that destroys your expectation. My gain.
666,
Chad Davis
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26.08.2021 - 01:25
nikarg
Mod
Written by HourOf13 on 25.08.2021 at 20:39

I appreciate your honest review of this album but I also think you have completely missed the point of this album. You're obviously stuck in the mindset of a time passed, and therefore do not understand what this album stands for. While I hope that older fans would enjoy new works as much as the troubled times of the old ones, these records aren't created to please everyone. Glad to know that people still listen, but saddened that the comparisons made are to times passed and not of their own merit. Perhaps it's over your head, or your position is skewed with pre-existing words from other "parties". Either way I'm glad I made an album that destroys your expectation. My gain.
666,
Chad Davis

Thank you for reading and commenting on my review. I can only say that it was written based on the promo that was sent to Metal Storm and it is not "skewed" by anything other than my personal taste. Reviews are subjective and this review is my subjective assessment in which I tried to give examples and different reasons why it is not a positive one. In this particular case, I went into more detail than usual which is something I do when I write unfavourable reviews for bands that I am a fan of and respect. I understand that you may not be happy with what I think of the album but it is what it is; as you said yourself, an honest review.

I wish you all the best for the future and hope you continue to make music for many more years.
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26.08.2021 - 01:52
ScreamingSteelUS
Editor-in-Chief
I was prepared to take a more charitable view, since I did enjoy the first song, but I found myself more and more in agreement with your review as the album went on. It's on the cusp of capturing a cool, creepy, lo-fi retro-doom sound and slips into simple mediocrity. I have very little experience with Hour Of 13, so I may check out their older stuff at some point, but this is not really what I'm looking for in this genre.
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"Earth is small and I hate it" - Lum Invader

I'm the Agent of Steel.
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26.08.2021 - 08:52
HourOf13

Written by nikarg on 26.08.2021 at 01:25

Written by HourOf13 on 25.08.2021 at 20:39

I appreciate your honest review of this album but I also think you have completely missed the point of this album. You're obviously stuck in the mindset of a time passed, and therefore do not understand what this album stands for. While I hope that older fans would enjoy new works as much as the troubled times of the old ones, these records aren't created to please everyone. Glad to know that people still listen, but saddened that the comparisons made are to times passed and not of their own merit. Perhaps it's over your head, or your position is skewed with pre-existing words from other "parties". Either way I'm glad I made an album that destroys your expectation. My gain.
666,
Chad Davis

Thank you for reading and commenting on my review. I can only say that it was written based on the promo that was sent to Metal Storm and it is not "skewed" by anything other than my personal taste. Reviews are subjective and this review is my subjective assessment in which I tried to give examples and different reasons why it is not a positive one. In this particular case, I went into more detail than usual which is something I do when I write unfavourable reviews for bands that I am a fan of and respect. I understand that you may not be happy with what I think of the album but it is what it is; as you said yourself, an honest review.

I wish you all the best for the future and hope you continue to make music for many more years.


Hahaha dude I don't care if you liked the album, and don't you take this the wrong way, but your "more than usual" bashing of the record is less taken to heart than what you wrote in the comments about "For good doom check out what Phil Swanson was involved in.." That's like a slap in the face. Your opportunist action of promoting his stuff in the review of my album is low rent and unprofessional as crap. That's my issue. You guys can be a bit more tactical than that. "I never want to hear his voice again" is priceless by the way.

I don't want this to turn into some back and forth bickerfest, just maybe with other bands take a bit more of a fair cop if you would.
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26.08.2021 - 11:13
nikarg
Mod
Written by HourOf13 on 26.08.2021 at 08:52

Hahaha dude I don't care if you liked the album, and don't you take this the wrong way, but your "more than usual" bashing of the record is less taken to heart than what you wrote in the comments about "For good doom check out what Phil Swanson was involved in.." That's like a slap in the face. Your opportunist action of promoting his stuff in the review of my album is low rent and unprofessional as crap. That's my issue. You guys can be a bit more tactical than that. "I never want to hear his voice again" is priceless by the way.

I don't want this to turn into some back and forth bickerfest, just maybe with other bands take a bit more of a fair cop if you would.

You are contradicting yourself. Either this was an "honest review" as you first said or "low rent and unprofessional as crap" as you say now. Believe it or not, and don't take this the wrong way, but I couldn't care less about promoting any band or musician. I have a job that pays me really well and I write about music only for fun and because I have listened to a boatload of it for many many years. This gives me the advantage of being honest to the point that people might even get annoyed because they are used to reading only good stuff about their work on the internet. Labels and bands give away goodies, then a guy behind a screen who has been listening to doom metal for six months writes "this is the new Candlemass". I am sorry but it doesn't work this way here at Metal Storm. We write what we think and we know what we write about. And even when we are wrong, it is not because we have links to anything or anyone or because we have ulterior motives.

When you are an artist and you put your work out to the public you are going to have to accept criticism. And comparisons. I personally think your voice is bad. I am sorry for the bluntness but this is what I think. I love the music of your previous albums and I admire your skills but I found the music on this one boring. You have had another vocalist in your previous three that I consider to be miles better. It happened to be Swanson. Who did you want me to compare you with as a vocalist? Dua Lipa? The fact that Swanson is also involved in a release that came out in the same month is completely coincidental and it showed up on my YouTube while I was searching for EPs for another feature that we have here, called Clandestine Cuts (for EPs and demos of independent and unsigned bands). Nothing was sent by either the band or a label. And my suggestion about it came in the comments, not the review itself, so your accusation that I am promoting his stuff in the review of your album is unfounded. I accept that the line "I never want to hear his voice again" was harsh but it is exactly how I felt every time I had to go through that part of the album. And I listened to your album too many times because I try to be better than "unprofessional as crap". So, for what it's worth, I don't know Swanson, I have never spoken to him or exchanged a single line with him ever in my life. And, of course, I had no reason to promote his stuff. I just think he has a better voice and that the recent EP he is involved in is better than your recent album. I have every right to make comparisons just like you have every right to say that "X dude writes shit reviews and is less knowledgeable than Y dude", as long as you can back it up with valid arguments. What you read is just my opinion; so simple and without any conspiracy theories. Don't make more of this than what it really is.
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27.08.2021 - 15:02
Fallen Ghost
Craft Beer Geek
Written by HourOf13 on 26.08.2021 at 08:52
Your opportunist action of promoting his stuff in the review of my album is low rent and unprofessional as crap.


Dude.. I was about to check out the album, but your complaining about the review makes me not even want to find out if I ever want to hear your voice again. Jesus..
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