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Hat apparently formed all the way back in 1993, was put on hold in 1996 and resurrected ten years later. I’d never heard of them before, which might not come as much of a surprise seeing as this is their debut album. So their roots are definitely firmly set in the older days of black metal, and it doesn’t take long into Guds skitne avkom to realize they’re still hell-bent on maintaining the sound of the genre’s former glory days.
After a very effective intro the album sets off with a relatively fast pace (I say “relatively” since they don’t come anywhere close to the ultra-blasting we find in metal nowadays) and a surprisingly melodic guitar lead. The similarities with acts like Taake and earlier Gorgoroth are quite instant, and it’s undoubtedly old school black metal – spiteful, grim and filled to the rim with blasphemy. But Hat adds to that a keen sense of melody, which comes across through the guitar leads. While the tempo might be predominately fast-paced, they throw in tons of variety with slower sections, alternating drum patterns which on occasion offer a little quirk or two (like for instance the brief militaristic drumming during Schadenfreude). The main vocals are extremely harsh, albeit still with the classic black metal pitch, adding a load of brutality to their sound. For Inner demons the vocals take on a different approach and sounds much more hoarse and sore, giving it a desperate touch. Very unorthodox.
This two-man unit does absolutely nothing to reinvent the wheel, they harvest the crops sowed by their predecessors, but they do a damn fine job. Minor twists, a good sense of song writing, a cold atmosphere and hookfilled melodies makes it a great addition to any black metaller’s record collection, at least if your love for Norwegian old school is strong.
Originally written for http://www.mylastchapter.net