Review – Haemoth: In Nomine Odium

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Review – Haemoth: In Nomine Odium
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Haemoth: In Nomine Odium
Black Metal
Debemur Morti Records
November 11th, 2011 / January 10th, 2012 (North America)
Release length: 44:58
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Like many undergound Black Metal acts of today, Haemoth has chosen to stick primarily in the shadows of the underground. Not much is really known about the group, and even a Google search of the internet turned up no band-sanctioned websites. The band comes from Vernouillet, Île-de-France, France, and had formed back in 1998 with the line-up of Syht on drums, and Haemoth on all other instruments. It seems like this is the founding formation, and one that has carried on throughout the years. After a great deal of demoing material, Haemoth finally issued their debut album, Satanik Terrorism back in 2003, and did a follow-up album in 2004. Since then, there has been an EP in 2005, and then silence… until now. Haemoth return, backed by Debemur Morti Productions, to issue their third full-length release, In Nomine Odium. But, has the many years of nothing been beneficial to this group?

Clocking in at nearly forty minutes with only seven tracks, it’s clear that this effort will show the group dabbling in longer cuts again, something that has become a staple for the French Black Metal scene, underground or otherwise. The audio quality should not come as a shock as well. The audio here feels pretty raw, focusing on a lo-fi quality with higher, sharper guitar distortions to push the music along. The bass guitar proves to be a pivotal resource for Haemoth in keeping the audio grounded and away from migraine inducing, having a strong presence you can instantly pick up on when it finally kicks in. The drumming also fills the music nicely, covering up some of the razor-like guitars with cymbals that feel a little drowned out to keep them from being commanding, though still very notable in the mix and helps to fill things well enough. The snares and others parts of the kit sound deep, and sometimes booming, while the bass kicks can also be a bit drowned out by the guitar, but still come through with a pretty strong click. When the music slows down and doesn’t quite feel as venomous or angry, the kicks, as well as the rest of the kit, really do stand out more. The vocals, however, never really seem to pop up like the thunderous drumming can. For the most part, they feel as though there is a subtle distortion used to make them sound a little more inhuman, almost like a sickening, demonic wind being carried against the loud Black Metal cacophony the band brings to the table, with a slight echo effect used as well. But, in the end it works for the music, and becomes hard to envision any other concept being incorporated, or even increasing their volume.

Right away, In Nomine Odium shows both how loud it ends up being, and how sharp/shrill the guitar and it’s distortion ends up being in the mix thanks to its instrumental introduction. “Odium” is largely guitar driven with some deep rumblings in the background that are pretty low in comparison. This will have you scrambling to lower the volume, even if you had it turned up for the later tracks after a first spin. The music here is actually so high-pitched that you can pause the song by the halfway point, and the song is only three-minute and seven seconds long to begin with mind you, and you’ll find your ears ringing, even if it’s at a rather low volume level from whatever speaker it’s coming from. This obnoxious start does an alright job setting up the album, but the haunting atmosphere that comes into play on the next song that “Odium” bleeds into, as well as many other tracks, is simply not acknowledged well enough here.

“Slaying the Blind,” however, finds itself a bit more rooted and able to be played louder without the ear-splitting higher pitch becoming a problem. The additional drumming and bass, though still a lot lower than the dominating guitars, do cancel out some of that shrill some the instrument brings with it. The vocals are lost in the mix, as stated already, but show a nice mixture of the traditional Black Metal rasp and a good deal of energy that brings in enough range to it that you won’t become too tired of it. This also shows the vocals become the least important aspect, as you can easily tune them out and just allow the rather haunting, yet still venomous music sweep over you. There are times where all the instruments except the guitar will stop, and you get a few seconds of the higher distortion without some of it being cancelled out, but luckily these sections don’t last long enough to make you feel irritated enough to get up and turn it down. The ending here also feels a little odd, focusing solely on guitars for a little while as it fades to that deeper rumbling sound similar to the background of “Odium,” acting as the wind against some creepy ambient effects that establishes it a lot better than the guitar-driven introduction to the album managed to.

There’s actually only a few long tracks here, though “Odium” and “Slaying the Blind” could technically be considered one long track due to how one bleeds into the other, despite the first clearly being a long introduction meant for the album and not the song. “Demonik Omniscience,” however, is a straight-froward nine minute plus track showing Haemoth at their best. Much of the track really finds the bass pushing itself forward to make a stronger impact in the music outside the guitar, and the pace shifts greatly through the track, going from a slower, almost trance-enducing tone at times from the high-speed anger-fueled madness. The shifting between these sections works well at weaving everything together, and there’s plenty of variety in the bridges to keep it interesting. The intensity of the song also makes way for plenty of moments where you will have a sudden urge to bang your head along to the fury and energy the group bring with them here. his one does also seem to bleed into the slower paced “Spiritual Pestilence” thanks to some wind-like ambience, a bit of a theme to this album. It does go off as a slower instrumental that picks up pace here and there, and ends in a manner that once again connects to the next track, “Disgrace.”

Anyone keeping score will have noticed that basically every song is connected in some manner, most of the time through additional ambience at the end of one track. “Slaying the Blind” found a slight scream at the end of “Odium” and a sudden jerk in music prior to it’s starting, and “Spiritual Pestilence” was just an instrumental that fed off the previous track’s closing and ended with a very quick guitar chord that cut into “Disgrace.” There isn’t really a time when these connecting points become a nuisance, but with that song it can get out of hand. “Disgrace” has a lot of noise that makes up much of the end of the song before it even begins to fade out and go back into that deeper rumbling, though minus the wind this time. It feels like it just takes forever to get to the reiteration of what the band did at the end of “Slaying the Blind,” and in no way does it help the introduction of “Son of the Black Light.” In fact, it’s clear that it’s meant to kick in like a frostbitten introduction one might expect from an early second wave group, but the way it’s handled with the ambient noise attempt to come off like wind and failing, but still giving a desolate tone to the music, immediately brings up illusions of the wild west in a Spaghetti Western, the kind of guitar chord you’d expect to hear as the camera goes along the deserted roads of what may be a ghost town, perhaps for a shoot-out, or just to show the corruption of the town sheriff. This carries on for a great deal of time again, overusing the atmospheric push to the point where you simply just won’t care anymore before the fast pace and highly aggressive track finally kicks in and proves it has nothing to do with the ambience of “Disgrace,” or even the start of this song. At this point, the environment is pretty much killed on the listener, but if it isn’t, then the repetition of this ambient noise that appeared at the start of the album will end it for sure, especially when it appears out of nowhere as you continue through “Son of the Black Light” with some pretty lame transitions in and out, as well as the fact that it really has no reason to be there other than allow the band to draw the song out.

In Nomine Odium has some pretty good ideas, and overall the band has plenty of songs that really show the group putting their all into it. The music, when not being drug along near the end of the disc, is actually really good and feels both violent and haunting. However, as you continue through the release, by the time you hit “Spiritual Pestilence,” you’ll grow tired of the many repeating sections that are easy to spot, leaving to a loss of interest even in the first listen. If the band managed to bring enough variety to the longer tracks the make up the end of the album, as well as to how they connect each and every track together, then Haemoth would really have a fantastic Black Metal offering on their hands. There’s no denying you’ll go back to listen to “Slaying the Blind” up to and including “Spiritual Pestilence” time and time again, but chances are you’ll never speak of “Odium” again. In Nomine Odium may not really have been worth the six-year wait, but it’s far from an album you’ll loathe, and others may find a little more to embrace about the closing material than others well, and it’s still worth at least checking out when you get the chance.


01. Odium – 3:06
02. Slaying the Blind – 4:05
03. Demonik Omniscience – 9:19
04. Spiritual Pestilence – 4:02
05. Disgrace – 5:55
06. Son of the Black Light – 8:47
07. … And then Came the Decease – 9:45
Initial Pressing Score: 6/10

Haemoth
Haemoth

Digital review copy of this release provided by Debemur Morti Records
via Earsplit PR.