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Review: In Human Form/Katahdin/Aoi - The Black Hours
In Human Form
The Black Hours

Label: Independent
Year released: 2011
Duration: 47:31
Tracks: 8
Genre: Black/Folk Metal


Review online: April 29, 2012
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers' Rating
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Rated 3.33/5 (66.67%) (3 Votes)

The Black Hours is a 3-way split with two Black Metal bands, In Human Form and Katahdin, sandwiched between the Folk music of Aoi. Notice I didn't say "Folk Metal." More on that in a moment.

The two tracks from Massachusetts' In Human form lean toward the raw, chaotic Black Metal of bands like Emperor or Darkthrone. The production is spare and everything is crammed together in a whirlwind of harsh sounds. The vocals are nearly undecipherable, the guitars are an omnipresent buzz and the drums are very thin and almost like trash can lids, in spots. In other words, if you like this style of Black Metal, In Human Form does it quite well, with little or no surprises.

Katahdin, from Connecticut, is similar to In Human Form but perhaps a bit more melodic, like Immortal or maybe Carpathian Forest circa Black Shining Leather. The performances are more reserved, though no less heavy. There are blast beats but also slower spots and the vocals are slightly more understandable. Another solid, if again, typical raw Black Metal experience.

Aoi are a self-described "Medieval Folk" band from Brooklyn, NY. All their songs (tracks 1, 4 and 8) consist of vocals and folk instruments only. There is no "Metal" anywhere. Aoi's contribution to The Black Hours appears to be a break between the music of In Human Form (tracks 2 and 3) and Katahdin (tracks 5, 6 & 7). There are certainly many Pagan/Folk Metal bands that have combined standard Black Metal with Folk influences and achieved the similar results. The problem with Aoi is their singing, which seems off, especially on "Weep O Mine Eyes."

Overall, The Black Hours is decent, especially if you like raw, aggressive Black Metal. Both In Human Form and Katahdin seem solid while Aoi impressed me less.

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