Hour of 13


Written by: EW on 28/09/2012 00:05:06

Traditional metal troupe Hour of 13 fit the bill of what I like to refer to as 'organic metal', a term by which I mean a band sounding no more and no less like a bunch of gnarly lifers playing no frills, honest metal with a stripped down and natural analogue production. "333" is just that. Seven songs of Sabbath-meets-Dio-meets-Slough Feg solid metal that revels in the warmth of the riff and the distinctive vocals of Phil Swanson to create an album that may not be the most vigorous going but which certainly values substance over style.

Sounding a little more down-trodden and doomy than predecessor "The Ritualist", "333" resembles a(nother) take on the blues-tinged template Sabbath laid down over 40 years ago. Phil Swanson is the focal point of the American's (?) style whose varied approach lends an extra dimension to the likes of "Deny the Cross" and "Who’s to Blame", but I can't help feeling there is more to his pipes than he is willing to give and consequently doesn't bring what your aforementioned Dio did to the table (not to offer too high a comparator). Most of the tracks here follow a broadly similar template of appreciative head-nodding tempo building to a peak in the middle sections before closing back at a slower keel - "Sea of Trees", "Spiral Vacuum" and "Rite of Samhain" (which oddly is mixed a lot quieter than all others in my copy).

Even by the standards of 'revivalist' heavy metal, of which I have praised the likes of RAM and In Solitude greatly, this marque practiced by Hour of 13 is resolutely blue-collar and steadfast; consequently, I feel, limiting their potential appreciation among the typical younger devotee of metal today more accustomed to glossy, flavour-of-the-month type acts. For the rest of us, "333" is solid enough to come with my recommendation but lacking in the colour needed to be worthy of anything higher than a...


Download: See of Trees, Deny the Cross
For The Fans Of: Slough Feg, Black Sabbath, Grand Magus
Listen: Myspace

Release date: 29.05.2012
Earache Records

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