I’ve been meaning to write something about this Illinois band since NCS reader Austin sent me a link to one of their songs a couple weeks ago. Today seemed like a good day to do it, for reasons I’ll explain later.
Their most recent album, Omens, was released in June of this year and followed their 2009 debut album Infinite Titanic Immortal. The core of the band are two brothers, Adam Cook (guitar, bass, lead vocals) and Michael Cook (drums, backing vox). Even before listening to the music, I was struck by the eye-catching cover art for the two albums. The cover of the debut is above and you can see the cover of Omens after the jump.
The two-headed eagle can mean many things, but among others it connects (in my mind) to the imagery of Polish death-metal heavyweights Behemoth because AHTDU’s music reminds me of that band. So far, I’ve only listened to a handful of songs from the two albums, but from what I’ve heard, the music has a similar imperial weight and obsidian edge. The band deliver heavy, crushing rhythms with a controlled, martial drumbeat; fat, groaning riffs augmented by bursts of rapid-fire, blackened-thrash leads and slithering solo’s; and predatory, lionine vocals. (more after the jump . . .)
The band also list Old Man’s Child as an influence, and there’s a stylistic resemblance in the music to the work of that excellent band, too, with AHTDU perhaps falling in between the musical realms of OMC and Behemoth, without coming off as a clone of either one. Comparisons aside, A Hill To Die Upon are solid practitioners of blackened death metal and a band to watch.
I’ve got two songs to share with you. The first is a track from the debut album, and after that is a song from Omens, which is available for free download on the band’s Facebook and ReverbNation pages. I like both of these songs a bunch.
“PROMETHEUS REBOUND”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/02-Prometheus-Rebound.mp3|titles=A Hill To Die Upon – Prometheus Rebound]
“DARKNESS THAT CAN BE FELT”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/A-Hill-To-Die-Upon-Darkness-That-Can-Be-Felt.mp3|titles=A Hill To Die Upon-Darkness That Can Be Felt]
I’ll also mention, before someone else does, that despite their trappings of black metal, AHTDU is a Christian band, by which I mean the lyrics have a Christian focus. Normally, I wouldn’t mention this, because when I size up metal, the music comes first, the lyrics are a distant second (and only when I can hear them, which is not often), and the personal beliefs of band members (with rare exceptions) aren’t even on the list.
To me, the fact that AHTDU has a Christian lyrical focus doesn’t make the music any better or any worse, no more so than the anti-Christian lyrical focus of Archgoat — the subject of today’s first post — either improves or detracts from the sound of their grisly music. For that reason, I thought a feature on AHTDU might be a fitting bookend to the post about Archgoat. And for a similar take on the appreciation of metal, but coming from a Christian perspective, check out this thought-provoking piece that SurgicalBrute sent our way in one of yesterday’s Comments sections:
But I know the lyrical themes of music do matter to some metalheads, as do, at least in some instances, the beliefs of band members. Maybe you’re one of those people. If you’ve got any thoughts about this subject, that’s what the Comment section is for.
Finally, since I’ve now got Behemoth and Old Man’s Child on the brain, along with A Hill To Die Upon, I might as well turn this into a mini-mixtape and throw a couple of their songs your way, too:
BEHEMOTH: “CHANT OF EZKATON 2000 E.V.”:[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/01-Chant-For-Ezkaton-2000-e.v.-Explicit.mp3|titles=Behemoth – Chant For Ezkaton 2000 e.v.]
OLD MAN’S CHILD: “SLAVES OF THE WORLD”:[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/01-Slaves-Of-The-World.mp3|titles=Old Man’s Child – Slaves Of The World]
UPDATE: I failed to mention that the stunning cover art for AHTDU’s debut album is an original commissioned painting by a Serbian artist named Bogdan Amidzic, who’s got a MySpace page here:
AND, I discovered that the cover art at the top of this post is only half of the complete painting. Check it out: