Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Self-Hatred - Hlubiny (2018)

With cold looks on their faces and eyes that seem to stare off into the distance the members of Self-Hatred emerge from a Czech graveyard visibly burdened in a state of quiet misery. Their anguish is palpable but it is also their fuel in producing extreme atmospheric doom coated in the ash of burning death and black metal. On Self-Hatred's second album "Hlubiny" (or "Depths" for those of us who don't speak Czech) the band explores themes of death, loss, and sorrow in both music and word (though you may need translate the lyrics). These songs are built on a foundation of slow, growling doom that will gnaw away at you but when patches of more extreme metal rear their head the sound will let loose and maul you without losing the downtrodden essence at its core, carefully balancing both the violently grim and the tragic. The key work on this album is chilling and atmospheric, shifting between organ, piano, and ominous string tones as the mood fits, providing a great range of variety but always lending power and depth to each song. Check out the second track "Odraz" where it carefully syncs with the rhythm to create a massive cathedral style sound and the last track "Epitaf" which sees the keys take on many new forms throughout the song's progression. Guttural vocals evoke a primal sense of grief that has been unearthed from a place beyond conscious recognition, as though all vocalist knows is misery and it consumes until it comes pouring out verbally. Hlubiny is like the soundtrack to some eldritch horror rising up out of the woods in the heart of winter and then making a solemn march to throw itself on a funeral pyre - only stopping to wreak havoc on those that would stand between it and its bleak goal. Definitely recommended for those who can bear the weight of despair! -Brandon

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