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Hat – Vortex of Death (2011) - 60%

Asag_Asakku, June 5th, 2012

Major misfortune of most modern Scandinavian black metal bands is to arrive too late, when the second wave has already died on the shores. Inevitably, all these bands must undergo harsh comparisons with their predecessors, many of which still on business. It's the case of Hat, a Norwegian band founded first in the 1990s under a different name, then reappeared under its current name in 2006. After a demo and a rather confidential album (The Demise of Mankind, 2009), it strikes again with Vortex of Death (2011), launched by a small American label.

As it is often the case with the Norwegian bands, the product is pretty slick. Beautiful cover, impeccable packaging. Unfortunately, it’s in the music that spoils it a bit. Hat plays - with conviction, I know - a very traditional black metal, as interpreted in their home country for the past twenty years and counting. From the first notes of Inhuman Revelatio, listeners are dragged into common ground, with riffs, arrangements and sequences already heard a thousand times before. We easily perceive all the possible influences exploited by Hat, such as Satyricon, Behexen and some other pillars of the 1990s, which have all had (and still have) their moment of glory while playing fast and hateful black metal. But then, the 1990s are long gone…

Vortex of Death is still a decent album which may satisfy all of those (and there are many) who prefer vintage sounding black metal, without any kind of modern innovation. For me, it is immediately heard, immediately pulled over my stack of CDs. 6/10

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