Vortex of Death

Formed in 1993 under the name of Ravner, then resurfacing after a brief hiatus in 2006 as Hat (Norwegian for ‘hate’), Hat are a duo of corpse-painted, spike clad Norwegians playing brittle, frosty, hateful orthodox black metal culled straight from the early ’90s. While that little description is probably more than apt for me to describe Vortex of Death, and for you the decide whether to purchase it or not, I should probably go into a little more detail.

To me, the major influence of Vortex of Death, the band’s second full length album is Abigor’s Veristung/Invoke the Dark Age without the medieval aura, Wrath of the Tyrant era Emperor sans synths and a less bassy Gorgoroth. The riffs swirl with a shrill, but melodic and controlled tremolo picked intensity, the vocals are a continual high pitched shriek with the occasional chant or spoken word, there are a few occult, atmospheric injections and the bass and drums are barely audible. It nothing that hasn’t been done to death, but in this era of black metal interbreeding with so many other genres, it’s actually refreshing to hear something this pure, and unashamedly old school. And it doesn’t seem forced or merely homage either, similar to recent releases by the likes of Cavus, Svartsyn and Sacrilegious Impalement, it’s like a record dug up from 1995 and released upon the world.

At 44 minutes in length and with only eight songs, each of the tracks is pretty lengthy but well crafted with just enough variety from the piercing maelstrom to keep you interested; whether it be a mid-paced march or slight atmospheric tangent or chant, the tracks manage to mount a surprisingly listenable primal black metal assault. That being said I’m not sure I could pick out the likes of “Innhumanus Revelatio”, “Overmenneske”, and “Slaves of Insanity” from each other or a crowd of Darkthrone, Mayhem and Immortal songs from the early ’90s. As for vocalist Undertykker–while certainly having an over the top, purist delivery–begins to grate after a while.

But like I said, for a fix of old school black metal that’s a welcome break from black metal that’s tainted with shoegaze, post, sludge or progressive and experimental elements (as much as I enjoy them), Vortex of Death fits the church burning bill.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
March 24th, 2011


  1. Commented by: faust666

    Hat ??? hahahahahahaha….

  2. Commented by: Clauricaune

    yeah, they should have given a bit more thought to their name.

  3. Commented by: Storm King

    Funny thing about languages: what’s purely evil and dark in your native tongue, comes off as the perfect name for an indie pop band in another. Good old school black metal, but man that’s an unfortunate name choice.

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