Release DetailsLABEL Autumn Winds Productions
RELEASED ON 12/1/2005
Hoarstone, come on, man. Don’t make me work for it. What, is this a power thing? “I’m gonna deliver a bunch of classically-proportioned, well-made old school black metal songs, but I’m gonna make you wade through 30 minutes of crap to hear them”?"
I’ll back up. Hoarstone is a one-man black metal band from England. Now, my long-time readers will know that there is no musical unit I favor more than the one-man black metal band. There seems to be a certain deranged, isolated melancholy which they project, and a certain stylistic iconoclasty—like little autistic Beethovens, all. Hoarstone does not disappoint in this regard; we have chunky black metal in the old style: simple, melancholy chord progressions and distant garbled rasps and screams. Nothing too unusual, but nevertheless quite satisfying.
So then why, why, does our man Atol feel the need to wrap them in all sorts of filler? First, in the album proper, there are all these little ‘interludes’—I’m not feeling it, my man. This is no ambient keyboard exercise to provide soothing background music as you slip out for a smoke. This is just annoying. The first track, “The Aimless Passing Of Time”, is 57 seconds of harpsichord noodling so chromatic and dissonant that it passes right through baroque, past serialism, and into the stylistic realm of a three year-old hitting keys on a piano at random. Then, six tracks in, there’s “Illogical Existence”, which consists of random drum hits and screaming. He ends the album proper with “The Loss of All”, which inexplicably, is just another minute of random drum hits with a little bit of reverb. Finally, Hoarstone has tacked on it several demo and split tracks from the last couple of years—25 minutes worth, to be precise—and believe me, it is not the better for it. Maybe I’m overreacting here, but there is nothing to sap my enjoyment and divert my attention than half an LP having absolutely no reason for being there.
Maybe you should wait for his next one; it’s obvious, to hear from the older material on the disc, that Hoarstone is still on an upward trajectory. Or maybe you should petition “The Horrid One” to cut off the chaff and let Hoarstone stand on its own, as a really good EP, rather than a really frustrating long-player.