Ol’ Hatchie Haint — the debut album from a Tennessee black metal project called Vile Haint — feels like getting dragged screaming by an unseen, persistent force across a burning valley and towards an ominously shadowy and potentially otherworldly (or at least mystically energized) thicket. It’s great!
Seriously though — this music proves relentlessly devastating and impressive, providing a captivating venture to a state of nearly unmitigated existential turmoil. Although it’s not totally awash with feedback, Ol’ Hatchie Haint is consistently scouringly abrasive, thereby providing a confrontationally personalized edge for the unrest. The vocals, in aptly familiar black metal fashion, sound echoed from across some looming expanse, growing the sense of threat. Vile Haint adeptly balance rhythmic complexity with blistering, flamethrower-like bursts of energy, sending observers metaphysically spiraling. The tension is staggering, and the music’s richly grandiose flair expands that to startling extremes.
It’s dramatic — but very grounded. Vile Haint have got a slew of captivating dynamic shifts across this new record, but generally speaking, they seem to let each new facet of the melee simmer before rushing onward. They move between diverse rhythmic tones with relatively entrancing ease, and each new stretch of sound feels richly developed ahead of any fresh changes. Overall, the group zeroes in upon the destabilizing effects of the fiery energy they’re working with, cultivating nearly constant tension, buttressed by their consistently dizzying tempos.
The music eventually evolves to a point of evoking menacing, inhuman rage, as though a creature is arising from the dirt, brought to life by the reverie-like frenzy reflected across the bulk of the runtime. it’s intense to the point of seeming ritualistic, as though occasionally pushing beyond a ground-level state of being to a place of blissfully free-wheeling furor. A soloing guitar even breaks away from the main onslaught for a bit towards the conclusion of “Giving Wings To Puritanical Satan,” highlighting this more whimisically inclined thread within the music, although any sense of elevation doesn’t last particularly long. Instead, the album remains crushing.
The music is very impactful, whether in terms of the searing guitar tones or the ravaging pace of the performances, and this feels like a defining feature of the album, making the journey seem all-consuming.
Unsettling apparent organ tones float through a swirling haze of noisy atmosphere on the album’s opening track, “Scorched Sermon Of The Worthless And Forgotten,” as though personally observing what the title suggests in some decrepit, forgotten church. Although the instrumentation is forceful, grimy atmospherics figure prominently in the album’s experience, including on album closer “When The Moons Were Black,” which runs on a plucked acoustic guitar alongside a crackling haze. Other sonic highlights include the emotionally downtrodden tones that surface towards the end of penultimate track “Rural Sorcery In Early America.”
Formidable impact seems particularly apparent by the notably forceful “Giving Wings To Puritanical Satan” — every hit lands like getting suddenly hurled backwards in an instant, with the consistent dynamic shifts adding a sense of an unstoppable inward drive pushing back across debris-strewn fields, like you can’t help but end up back in the chaos. The title track, which appears fifth on the album, features prominent percussion, amplifying the immersive sense of physical impact.
The lurching, dramatically grandiose hits that guide this album along land like an entrancing — and sobering — introduction to a level of exhaustedly energizing and devastating power.
Ol’ Hatchie Haint by Vile Haint is available now via Moonlight Cypress Archetypes.