Released: 2012, Earache Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
In the words of GIR (of Invader Zim) “I’m gonna sing the Doom Song now” – apparently it’s one that Hour Of 13 also know well. They’re also a little more successful in bringing the doom than Zim ever was.
To the point titled 333, this is album number three from Hour Of 13 – one of those bands that the underground couldn’t keep their mouths shut about and as such invited us all to revel in. With this year’s summer festival line-up meaning everyone has a hard on for anything Black Sabbath at the moment – much the same as your dad did back in the day – Hour Of 13’s Sabbathian-doom feels pretty on the money for keeping a tent in our collective trousers
However the steady riff-based writing style means 333 is not a fly by night record, or designed as a cheap cash cow, but a lesson in solid and honest song writing – inspired by heavy metal’s ever present muse, the occult.
If you’re familiar with Hour Of 13’s previous work, then what’s been said so far should reassure you that the band haven’t strayed from their traditional path – in the slightest. Whilst no-one likes it when their favourite band decides overnight to completely overhaul their sound, it’s generally accepted that a band will evolve between albums. In contrast, Hour Of 13 have remained incredibly single minded in their vision – but not through can’t-be-arsed-laziness but what appears to be a real love for the genre they immerse themselves in.
A clear example of this is slow-burner ‘Deny The Cross’, which grooves to doom’s old school rhythm, and is helped along by Phil Swanson’s Ozzy-esque vocals. Proving that they’re not just doing-doom-by-numbers, ‘Rites Of Samhain’ whips out a Judas Priest or Iron Maiden style gallop as Chad Davis’ musical intuition continues to get it spot on.
Closer ‘Lucky Bones’ is a long ‘un, but as its increased pace gives way to a slower groove, and then cranks back into a Sabbath-friendly finale, you find yourself drawn in with almost laughable ease. They may sound as back to the beginning as the Big Bang, but Hour Of 13 bring the kind of enveloping heavy that can drown out their noisier peers.
Based on their output to date, you may almost be able to set your watch by Hour Of 13 in terms of where they might go next, but why would you want anything more? Let’s sing it all together now ‘Doom doom doom doooom doom doom doooom doom...’
Review by: Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs