originally written by Chris McDonald
Haemoth’s brand of black metal seems to be often overlooked in certain sections of the pantheon of metal listeners these days, which I suppose is understandable considering the wealth of “blasting” black and death metal bands out there, many of which are difficult to get excited about. It’s an aesthetic that often lends itself to poor production and lazy songwriting, the result of an over-reliance on “extremity” as oppsed to compelling composition. With that said, Haemoth is a sizeable cut above the average in their respective niche, and In Nomine Odium adheres to black metal’s classic themes of audial hatred and violence in startlingly dedicated fashion.
Seriously, this album is almost unbelievably intense. The harsh, shrieking production and palpable sense of speed is what primarily drives Haemoth’s sound, and the sheer wrath and sense of calamity captured on this disc is a feat in and of itself – I felt like my hair had literally been blown back after the first couple of listens. But the band hardly shies away from logical, quality songwriting. The songs are all rooted in the traditional French style of blast beats, frenzied tremolo picking and manic minor chords, and the progressions within each cut are generally constructed with listenability in mind. This is harsh, unforgiving black metal crafted in a relatively professional and accessible style, and it works surprisingly well. The venom-soaked vocals are constantly threatening to come off the rails at any time and are crucial to the music’s unhinged feel, and the trebly nature of the mix allows plenty of room for the bass to loom ominously out from behind the guitars. There’s really no question that Haemoth accomplished exactly what they set out to do here – in terms of the realization of the artist’s intent, In Nomine Odium is an undeniable success.
Of course, the issue many have with this kind of black metal is the redundancy from track to track, and In Nomine Odium definitely qualifies for this complaint. The band’s attempts at mixing things up with foreboding ambient segments are hardly enough to compensate for the fact that every riff on this album sounds extremely similar. It’s hardly an issue if you’re listening to a song here or there, but the adrenaline rush brought on by opener “Slaying the Blind” is somewhat diminished three or four songs in due to the repetitive nature of the riffing and percussion. I generally favor albums where the songs feel like they are cut from a shared cloth, but it’s hard not to be a little irritated when individual tracks don’t do more to set themselves apart. I confess, it’s tricky to get a bead on music like this; it would be easy to chalk up the samey-ness of the riffs to a lack of inspiration or effort, but the convincing tone of the music as a whole leads me to believe that the lack variety is part of their inspiration.
One thing is for sure — for anyone fed up with black metal’s forays into progressive or dreamy territory, Haemoth is your new best friend. In Nomine Odium, despite its homogeneous nature, strikes the ideal balance between primal rage and epic grandiosity from which traditional black metal flourished. It’s perfectly produced and genuinely intimidating in its complete disregard for any sound less than totally sinister, and while there may not be a lot of ideas, those that are used are executed to near perfection. If you’re looking for a multifaceted listening experience, this album will likely be unsatisfying – for anyone else, it’s excellent.