The Ritualist

Hour of 13, 333 cover

Hour of 13, 333

The Ritualist was my no. 19 album of last year, and even though the release date of this fucker seems to be in dispute, I’m still psyched.

I don’t understand the move, but then again, I’m not a marketing expert, either. Too many brain cells. Also I have a soul.

ANYhoo– here’s a wee review for you, the lover of occult-based Sabbathian traditional doom metal.

And believe me, that exactly what 333 is. No muss, no fuss, no evolution, but no softening. At all.

Track one, “Deny The Cross,” is exemplified by a haunting, minor/diminished acoustic verse, which quickly becomes the type of riff that would be wicked fun to play, and is also fun to hear (though not as much), with a Venom-like chorus of doom and apocalypse….

“The Burning,” track two, also touches on the minor acoustic riff, but less so than the previous track, as the track pedal-tones/ chuggs its was into catchy occult-doom-itude….

Track 3, “Rite of Samhain,” hits with a militaristic riff, one not unlike Maiden’s “Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner” and Sab’s “Children of the Grave”– not better, per se, than either, but obviously their son, and obviously just as badass….

“Spiral Vacuum” sounds like a heavier version of the “exposition” tracks off of King Diamond’s Abigail, like “Black Horsemen” of “The 7th Day of July 1777″

Track five, “Who’s To Blame?” previously touched upon here, is essential (and essentially) textbook Hour of 13– a great, if not wholly original, riff in the verse, with a slower, simpler riff in the chorus, all under a vocal line and that’s easy to remember, i.e., catchy….

It reiterates what Hour of 13 are– genuine lovers of traditional doom metal: they love said canon and apparently want nothing more than for it to continue without evolving one fucking iota– not unlike the new St. Vitus.

And in this, Hour of 13 will probably never make my top 5 of the year list– but will always make the top 20, at minimum.

Evaluate that statement at your leisure. You know if it’s relevant to you and your iTunes collection.

If you read this site, odds are it totally is.

You doom whore.

“Sea of Trees” inevitably reminds me of Reddit’s /trees subcategory and makes me think this song is somehow about weed, but I can’t find any justification in the lyrics. Unfortunately. Overall, probably the weakest track on here; sounds thrown together.

Closer “Lucky Bones” (what is it with these guys and references to abducted girls? First “Missing Girl,” and now this) is the most all-out rocker here, but isn’t necessarily the best track; it struts and frets its hour upon the stage and all, and is pretty rocking (almost like a blackened Whitesnake), but somehow HO13 need that minor-sounding acoustic and/or arpeggiated part to sound fully like themselves.

Bottom line on 333: completely generic traditional doom metal, utterly in debt to Sabbath, St. Vitus, Iron Maiden– the whole of the NWOBHM… but otherwise? Dooming, deathing, rocking metal GREATNESS.

Top 20 of the year, easy. Hopefully it will worm its way further upward. It’s certainly catchy enough.

Hour of 13, 333 cover

Hour of 13, “Who’s To Blame” single [from upcoming 333]

It’s not out until May 21, 2012 (on Earache), but Hour of 13′s upcoming 333 has me psyched: The Ritualist was my no. 19 album of last year, and even though this track seems to have evolved very little, if at all, from the sound on that album, somehow it doesn’t matter.

Also, why 333? Because that’s half the alleged number of the beast? You know what would’ve been an awesome title?

25.80697580112788– The Square Root of the Beast!

Huh…huh– amirite?

Anyway, here’s a link to Decibel Magazine’s blog, which is streaming the new single….

Hour of 13 with nudie chick

hour of 13, The Ritualist

The Ritualist is probably exactly what you know and expect at this point, what with retro traditional metal acts like Ghost, Devil and In Solitude:

They’re minor-chorded, Sabbath-worshiping alleged-Satanists….


“Pink Sabbath”/ “Black Floyd”


“Deep Skynyrd”/ “Lynyrd Purple”….

What’s I’m trying to say is:

Hour of 13 are best classed as late 70s/ early 80s-ish psychedelic detuned proto-metal/ heavy rock–

They’re Graveyard’s weird cousin, that sorta looks like them, and yet not really, that no one has ever seen in the daylight.

There are craaaaazy hooks here: each tune is nearly instantly memorable. The best ones:

“Naked Star,” “The Ritualists,” “”Possession” and “Evil Inside” have a great series of riffs in them, “Evil Inside” in particular sounding like a radio-friendly Candlemass.

The singer sounds like a simpler David Coverdale, and it works here: there’s a stripped-down production and little detuning (they’re in D).

There’s cliched simple lyrics, a la early 80s metal– The Ritualist is as simple and straightforward as doom gets, really; like my old cassettes of Sabbath, listening to this makes me wanna learn the riffs –they are pretty cool and succinctly heavy– but not necessarily listen to this repeatedly: slow this one down even more, detune and gain-up the amps, and this would be an absolute monster: as it is, it sounds like a well-made demo.

Now, all we need’s a high-res, arty/ high-concept video as a cool juxtaposition to the retro-production here.

Happy Hallowe’en!