Hour of Anguish-Solace of Sorrow album review
Scandinavia is a part of the world that’s known for producing a lot of killer metal bands and this melodic death metal duo, Hour of Anguish, keep the Swedish flag high for heavy metal. Founded by Andreas Henriksson and Richard Potts, Hour of Anguish was established in 2015 but after listening to their debut album you wouldn’t expect that they’re such a young band because they demonstrate such a high level of maturity in Solace of Sorrow.
The opening song on any debut album is incredibly important because it properly introduces your audience to your band’s sound. ‘Blisters,’ does its job well and introduces the listener to Hour of Anguish’s traditional melodic death metal sound. It features that trademark chunky guitar you’d expect from any extreme metal act as well as the provocative melodies that draw you in and get stuck in your head. Yet the explosive drums give the track a hard edge.
As the album continues the band slowly unleashes it’s heavier side onto the listener. Tracks like ‘Countdown to the end’ and ‘Farewell to the flesh’ seriously pack a punch with lots of vicious chord progression and rely heavily on speed as well as an aggressive drum beat. What makes this band stand out from the rest of the crowd in what is such an over saturated market nowadays, is that they draw influences from other genres rather than solely sticking to melodic death metal tropes that have become severely tiresome in recent years. While some believe that groove metal is a bad label to be attached too, for these guys the groove metal elements do them justice particularly in tracks such as ‘Hateful, Hollow’ and ‘Rise.’ These cohesive tracks consist’s both of enticing melodies and interesting song structure which illustrates the band’s strong musicianship.
Elsewhere, the band take a poetic approach to their lyrics which makes their songs even more engaging. The beautiful metaphors and descriptive lyrics paint vivid images in your head of a bleak and destructive world. A good example is, the previously mentioned Countdown to the End, which does a good job in creating a big atmosphere from the apocalyptic world it pictures in lyrics such as ‘close your eyes and see the end.’ Furthermore, Hour of Anguish not only manage to achieve brilliantly written lyrics but also manage to get the right balance of melodic and death metal so that it’s heavy enough for the veteran extreme metal listener especially with the abrasive growls, but also enjoyable for those who prefer the more traditional squeaky clean melodic driven guitar sound of heavy metal. Thus making this album accessible for the majority of the metal community.
Possibly the most disappointing thing about the album despite all the praise I’ve given it so far is how repetitive it becomes especially towards the end. You get the same sort of chord progression and chorus’s which all sound like clones to one another and as a result of that the enjoyment from the listening experience is definitely dampened. It just felt like the band ran out of ideas and because of this the songs feel slightly uninspiring in places. Luckily, however, the irresistible melodies and marvellous atmosphere keep you listening until the end, so things don’t get too tiresome. Regardless of this criticism, the album ends on a high note with the last two tracks ‘The Silence’ and ‘Throne of Gods,’ showing that the band have a little more dynamic when it comes to song structure.
Overall, Hour of Anguish have produced a pretty solid album and especially as a first record, it’s something to be proud of. Especially with how tight and solid all the tracks are. Yes, the band do need to work on bringing different song structures and melodies into the mix but besides from that, Solace of Sorrow shows that they have great potential as a band and I hope to see more quality work from these guys in the future.
- Countdown to the end
- Farewell to the flesh
- Hateful, Hollow
- Sleep eternal
- The Road to Hell
- The Silence
- Throne of the gods
Playing time: 50:00
Release date: 31st May 2016
Record label: Unsigned