A forearm dripping a black tar-like substance features on the cover of ‘Reach’, the debut album by Edinburgh metal combo House of Hatchets, who have so far been compared to Deftones, Slipknot, Killswitch Engage, and Bullet for my Valentine. It’s a nicely presented CD: the digipak cover is glossy, and the lyric booklet is thick and chock-full of images that link to the cver art, interspersed with the obligatory band photos.
Blasting off with chunky rhythm guitars overlayed with an intricate lead by way of a backdrop to vocals that switch from clean to snarling. They bring it all in up front: mega chorus, soaring choral backing vocals, quietly atmospheric passages that give way to tidal wave guitars…
There are some beefy slabs of distortion to be found here, sometimes manifesting as nu-metal chunks of ballast, others more post-grunge chord sequences, and the energy that crackles through ‘Reach’ is invigorating. You’re never far from an epic melody.
‘Uprising’ pretty much encapsulates what HoH are about switching rapidly yet also effortlessly between contrasting segments, changing tempo and mood, turning on a pin from blind rage to fist-pumping positivity. The market for their tune-centric anger is clear and substantial. They may think they don’t sound like anyone else, and maybe they don’t but that’s an extremely nuanced take on their brand of emotionally-charged accessible metal. It’s not remotely radical, but it’s well-executed.