New Jersey death crushers Hath revel in blood, destruction on stunning debut ‘Of Rot and Ruin’

We’ve mentioned before the glut of new records that ram my inbox every day that it’s so hard to keep up with every vital thing going on with metal. Again, a super good problem to have on our end, so I’m definitely not complaining. But I imagine how hard it must be for the waves of really good bands to find the audience that will embrace them.

While trying to wade through all that shit, it’s probably a good idea to have your act together and playing really strong stuff while you’re etching your path. That’s likely what led Hath to come to the attention of Willowtip Records, the label releasing their insanely good debut LP “Of Rot and Ruin.” With only a 2015 EP “Hive” to their credit to this point, the band rips out nine tracks in about 55 minutes, all of which they spend building their case and destroying the senses. The band—guitarist/vocalist Frank Albanese, bassist/vocalist Greg Nottis, guitarist Peter Brown, drummer AJ Viana—blister with death metal fire that’s not quite as technically noodly as a lot of other Willowtip releases (I mean that with all due respect) and instead just goes for the throat with blackened aggression. The music also is compelling and splattering, which means it’s not just here to shed blood but also to twist up your brains.

“Usurpation” kicks off the record with bells chiming and grimy death emerging before the tempo starts bashing away. The leads simmer and send off heat, with the soloing leaning into prog waters. A cleansing burst clears the space, with anthemic blasts closing the track. “Currents” begins with acoustics and hand drums before the band goes on an adventure complete with vicious growls and a monstrous assault drawing blood. Clean wails push in behind the shrieks, while the band unleashes sludgy horror that fades into black. “Rituals” begins clean before a proggy burst opens wounds, and the guitars shred minds. Whispers bring an uneasy calm, and then the drums clobber, clean singing works alongside the growls, and the track manages to be both sinister and catchy before being consumed by a chunky ending. “To Atone” mashes right away, with grisly vocals, muddy playing making your wheels spin, and growls and shrieks teaming up to bring abject terror, with howls of, “I see the truth!”

“Withered” is chilling as it starts, as it trickles slowly before being consumed by a slow-driving hell that makes your muscles ache. Abrasive growls and bubbling guitars work together to deliver total devastation. “Worlds Within” has acoustics and warm guitars out front before it’s ripped apart, and monstrous growls devour things whole. Keys arrive, as prog waters again rush, and classic guitars give the hell a feel of vintage charge. The song then speeds up and enraptures, bringing things back to death that continues to twist the knife in your ribs before trudging away. “Kindling” is an instrumental cut that delivers rustic acoustics, lush picking, and a mellower vibe, which is utterly destroyed by “Accursed” when it launches with devastating punches before pulling back a bit on the relentlessness. The verses then toughen up a bit, with cries of, “I let you fall into the abyss!” swimming amidst the muddy melodies. The track gets meaner as it reaches its final minutes, as weird guitars swoop, the flow gets tricky, and everything comes to a fiery end. “Progeny” caps off the album with bludgeoning heaviness and the howl of, “Here I lie hidden from the sun, ready to be devoured by the slime of the gods.” The pace keeps up its intensity and panic, eventually giving way in a hell storm that ends in doom bells, which acts as a bookend to the record.

Hath’s debut “Of Rot and Ruin” is an impressive display of bone-crushing death metal that’s exceptionally well played and also bloody as hell. This is a band that, while treading water in a sea of other death metal groups, should be able to hold their own with their razor-sharp proficiency and thirst to mangle digits. The best Hath can do to ensure more people are aware of their metallic violence is keep beating the same path they’re on until they’re followed by devoted legions.

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