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Ever since death and black metal became established genres there have been countless acts seeking for a sound in the realms bordering the two. Some have succeeded, some have been less fortunate. The main issue have been the failure to merge the different sounds into a coherent entity. Hod has on their sophomore disc 'Book of the Worm' solved this issue by drawing influence from prolific acts from the birth of said genres.
The result is a creation firmly rooted in the late American 80's, a time when death and black metal were still in their infancies and their musical definitions were about to settle. With a slab of primitive 80's black metal riffs combined with technical and upright weird guitar works trademarked by the Morbid Angel Corporation, and at times subtle hints of Suffocation, Hod relies firmly on an underground sound that weaves these influences together as if they were the most natural of companions. The technical becomes simple and the primitive becomes civilized.
'Book of the Worm' relies heavily on the brilliant riffs, guitar lines and well-placed tremolo passages of Lord Necron, which carry the music forth mainly in mid-tempo with some faster episodes. The drum work meritoriously alters between a grind here and a blastbeat there and is well-performed but never protrudes. The bass is almost equally subordinate to the guitars apart from a few passages where it briefly takes control of the audial charge.
Even Vladibber Reebs' vocals become more of a complement to the guitars with their guttural croaking/chanting approach. The vocals are one of the few flawed aspects of 'Book of the Worm'. Apart from 'Den of Wolves' where they move deeper into cookie monster-territory, they are quite monotonous. Said track does however display the potential of Vladibeer's voice and hopefully this will be further explored on coming works.
Despite the obvious focus on the guitars we are offered few solos. The ones present naturally dwell in the chaotic dissonant Slayer-esque realms popular in the late 80's death scene. A common problem with a fairly narrow sound depending heavily on the guitars is monotony, 'Book of the Worm' never suffers from that one inch. All tunes have a clear identity forged with small means and the album has an efficient flow. Only in 'Death Whores' where Hod focus more on brutality than subtle finesse does the album go lull.
Much of the album contains passages leading up to subtle musical crescendos. Still the emotional aspects of 'Book of the Worm' are quite simple, partly due to the quite clear but featureless production. One mainly finds oneself facing, alternately, hell in its most primitive form or some obscure Lovecraftian deity. With a small exception of the twice occurring repetitive line in 'Where Are the Demons', where images of a field scorn by battle and carnage appear.
Hod has in 'Book of the Worm' nailed both the guitar work
and an excellent flow. Some of the riffs displayed such in 'Through
the Gates (They Come for Me)' and 'Where Are the Demons' are really
amazing and the 34 minutes feels more like 10. Anyone with a soft spot
for hybrids of 80's black and American death metal deserve to give this
a shot. The band does not yet reach the absolute underground elite,
but with the hidden potential in mainly the vocals they sure have the