The New Jersey blackened death metal band Hath made an impressive advent in 2015 with an EP named Hive, but their debut album Of Rot and Ruin is nevertheless an enormous (and enormously good) surprise, not a step forward but an extravagant leap ahead. The news that Willowtip Records will release the album on April 12th is being announced today, and to help spread the word we’re premiering the first advance song from the album, the name of which is “Usurpation“.
This new track is a powerful preview of Hath’s songwriting approach on the new record, which turns these songs into richly dynamic and emotionally intense experiences. “Usurpation“, in particular, is an ever-changing yet completely electrifying rush that, by turns, is pulverizing, incendiary, gloom-drenched, and glorious.
The song begins in haunting fashion, but soon becomes a thunderous assault, thanks to a tumultuous drum eruption, an immense sludgy bass line (which continues to give the song granite-heavy weight whenever the bass rears its head), and rapidly writhing guitars. There’s a further change into a fast, galloping gait, providing the surging drive-train for the delivery of swarming and jolting riffs and a barbaric vocal attack that veers from combustible shrieks to cruel, murderous growls.
But there’s still lots more to come. The band segment and accent the song with destructive, pile-driving riffs, gloomy lurching movements, frenzied fretwork jabbing, demented fireball arpeggios, and wisps of eerie, fluid, misery-soaked melody — and near the end there’s a gleaming and glorious dual-guitar solo that sends the song into the stratosphere, capped by soaring vocal lines that combine clean and harsh intensity.
It’s a hell of an exciting trip, and, as impressive as anything else about the song, the pattern of all these twists and turns is coherent rather than chaotic, and leaves the track still ringing in the mind long after its over.
Hath’s line-up for the album consists of guitarist vocalist Frank Albanese, bassist/vocalist Greg Nottis, drummer AJ Viana, and guitarist Peter Brown (who joined Hath after the release of Hive). They’ve provided the following statement about the new album:
“For the new record, we wanted to take everything we learned with the first EP and build off of it. Hive was really a learning experience for us. AJ was in the process of building a proper studio and we were all figuring out the best ways to record and engineer an album. Once AJ‘s studio was up and running and with a few album releases under his belt, we felt confident in what we’d written and in his ability to produce a great album. The writing process for Of Rot And Ruin was much more deliberate than Hive. We really wanted to focus on songwriting and give special attention to how the songs and dynamics worked together. We strove for diverse yet cohesive songs. The result is a collection of songs that each have their own identity, yet all have the distinct Hath sound.”
Willowtip will release Of Rot and Ruin on LP vinyl, digipak CD, and digital formats. As noted, it was recorded and mixed by Hath drummer AJ Viana at AJ Viana Productions. It was mastered by Alan Douches at West Westside Mastering, and features cover art by the wonderfully talented Adam Burke (Nightjar Illustration). For pre-order info, check the links below.
4. To Atone
6. Worlds Within