THE HOUNDS OF HASSELVANDER - The Ninth Hour LP
Almost unbelievably heavy and portentous from the outset, The Hounds of Hasselvander's 'The Ninth Hour' is an album crafted from the bottom up - from the inside out - for maximum impact. Unlike many ostensibly similar works of late, this is not a bunch of loose ideas cobbled together and thrown into some interchangeable sub-genre of the moment in hopes of invoking a mood. Hasselvander is the genre. "The Ninth Hour" is the mood. Every moment of this album is like another drop of blood applied onto the canvas of your mind with great intent, care and purpose. Around each corner is a surprise - but the kind of dream-logic surprise you always knew was coming; that you always knew was there. Waiting. Ever waiting. And by the climax of the epic first number, you'll know what for. Riff-hounds will be more than satisfied, but the riff is not the be-all-end-all here, because Mr. Hasselvander is more than a little interested in song structure, melody and counterpoint. A learned and time-tested practitioner of the heavy arts, the man knows how to turn a song on a dime to make it spin back upon you, washing over the listener with an undertow of mids and lows so strong they'll take your breath away. Those who have enjoyed the past glories of Joe Hasselvander's work - particularly on the "Review Your Choices", "Sub-Basement" and "Hounds of Hasselvander" albums - will be stoked to hear every bit of fire and dark energy of those pieces represented here, along with a nuanced tonal variety heretofore only hinted at: presented with such a deft touch and the apparent intent to draw one into a journey of spirit and surprising emotion. And as a tremendous added bonus, Joe's good friend and partner in rhythm from the Death Row/Pentagram days, bass-guitar-heavy-hitter Marty Swaney, provides the requisite kickass bottom-end necessary to push this album right over the top.
Black Widow Records 2011