(We present Andy Synn’s review of the just-released new EP by Hatalom from Québec City, Québec, Canada.)
So I’ve decided that this week is going to be a Tech-Death focussed one for me, beginning with my review of the new Obscura disc on Monday, and continuing today with this quick run-down of the debut EP by Canadian quartet Hatalom.
Skipping past the pleasantly melodic, but ultimately rather disposable, instrumental intro track “Under Vitiated Skies” (which really feels like unnecessary padding more than anything else), the majority of Of Sorrow and Human Dust is composed of an impressive array of spiky, rapid-fire riffs and frantic, fleet-footed drum work, all topped off with a suitably vicious vocal performance courtesy of screamer/growler JP Beaulieau, which often recalls both Decrepit Birth (“The Observer”) and Soreption (“Sapiens of the Void”) with a dash of Beneath the Massacre thrown in for good measure (it’s clearly no coincidence that the first two bands are named as direct influences on Hatalom’s Facebook page).
Interestingly enough, it’s the slightly ‘core-esque influence of the latter – which first rears its head during the crushing climax to “Artificial Suffering”, but whose tendrils are also threaded throughout the EP – which actually helps differentiate the music here from its most obvious inspirations, as for every Sotelo-inspired section of technical melodic shreddery (such as that which crowns the second half of “Through the Eyes of Perception”) there’s a big, chugging neck-snapper of a riff or a chattering, machine-gun rhythmic pattern to balance things out and to keep this EP from turning into a glorified tribute record.
Speaking of melody, although it’s clearly not a primary focus for the band, its presence is certainly felt – and welcome – at key points here, from the moody bass-lines and subtly proggy fretwork which sneak their way into the penultimate section of “The Observer”, to the eerily menacing intro to abrasive, ultra-technical closer “La Beauté Réside dans le Silence des Hommes”, and the inclusion of these little melodic flourishes (as well as the heavy-yet-hooky nature of many of the riffs) only helps to highlight and enhance the overall intensity of the material.
And while they may not be winning any major awards for originality quite yet, there’s ample evidence here that Hatalom are already working with only the finest ingredients, meaning that if they can focus on creating a clearer identity for themselves going forwards – rather than just trying to add their own spice to someone else’s recipe – then I don’t see why they couldn’t start making some major waves in the Canadian/North American Tech Death scene… and beyond!