Haemoth
In Nomine Odium

Black metal is a curious beast; it can be a very conservative sub-genre and at the same time, one of the most diverse types of music to be composed. Bands like Enslaved, Dimmu Borgir and Deathspell Omega have shed most of their black metal roots in favor of something different. Whereas, Darkthrone, Dark Funeral and Mayhem have remained relatively unchanged keeping the usual fast-paced and lo-fi quality of evil that permeates within. The duo from France (eponymous guitarist, bassist and screamer Haemoth and skinsman Syth) have stuck fairly close to the original template of black metal while adding their own embelishments.

Not all of what Haemoth composes is repetitive and extremely fast – opener “Odium” lulls the listener in with an evil, dissonant motif that slowly builds into a climax of the second track, “Slaying the Blind.” Haemoth unleashes the fury of Hell with a nearly 20 second scream and continues on with a vocal delivery that reaches deep into the circles of Hell. Early Emperor – minus the symphonic bombast – is prevalent throughout with a short break into thrash territory around the 2:14 mark. This is all tied up into an ambient soundscape that invokes a feeling of wandering through a long abandoned dungeon that has seen many atrocities.

It’s a common practice on In Nomine Odium to use samples and synths to close out a song. It is also used sometimes to change the direction of a song or used as a break, which can be quite jarring as in “Son of the Black Light”. The soundscapes help create an atmosphere of hatred, terror and tension; it can also sap all of the energy from a song. Of course, if that is more an aural metaphor for Haemoth’s misanthropy, then, I suppose it’s pretty effective. A good example of atmospheric soundscapes is present on “Demonik Omniscience.” A hate filled opening that gives way to a very cool mid-tempo arpeggio contrast with blastbeats. Around the 6:30 mark is where the sounds of distorted, unintelligible chanting voices are used to bring back a hypnotizing riff only to end it with a very distorted and dissonant organ motif surrounded by wind or the anguish cries from the souls of Hell, whichever.

Speed is fairly important to black metal, although invoking a mood of darkness, despair and hatred is usually paramount for the greats. Haemoth sets up such a mood not only in the aforementioned blazing tracks but also on slower tracks such as instrumentals “Spiritual Pestilence” and “Son of Black Light” which has an Emperor and surprisingly, Pink Floyd type arpeggio to open it up.

The production is higher quality than most black metal; the guitars are still saturated in distortion and reverb that could easily summon Hell’s demons. If Haemoth‘s goal is contribute to humanity’s ruin, then I feel they have done an admirable job with In Nomine Odium. It’s not terribly shocking with the numbness of black metal setting in after so many years, they do know how to harness their misanthropy for a solid black metal album.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Travis Bolek
December 6th, 2011

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