Exciting Swedish melodic death metal duo Hour of Anguish have an intense sound that they descibe as “channelling the godfathers of the Gothenburg scene.” In short, they’ve honed a thrilling sound that combines all the intensity you’d expect of death metal with clean vocals and plenty of delicious riffing.
The duo of Andreas Henriksson and Richard Potts (clearly not Swedish) started the band after leaving two of their previous musical projects. They fuse melodic death metal influences with an intriguing “poetic” lyrical approach that, on their latest album at least, offers a “stark, bleak, nihilist” take on the world.
To get a taste for this, we took a listen to their second album Into The Empty, which was released at the end of last month. From it they sent us Denial, which opens up with lone vocals that continue alongside a stabbing riff. The riff continues under more intense, heavier vocals in a lively opening verse. That gives way to big drawn-out vocals, which eventually drop into the lively opening guitars then return several times.
The track epitomises Hour of Anguish’s fusion of heavy metal vocals, cleaner vocals and the contrast of melodic metal and full-on heaviness of death metal. Give this awesome track a listen here:
The album gets off to an exciting start with the intense Oblivion, which starts with reverby noises that drop into a chunky guitar riff. Huge vocals take over supported by delicious chugging guitars, which continue as the vocals become more melodic then increase in pace alongside a driving riff. It builds up to a chorus of clean vocals supported by chugging guitar and driving drums then drawn-out vocals and a fast-paced riff and drums over quicker vocals that lead up to a huge guttural cry of “Oblivion.” Check it out in the video here:
The album is packed with melodic death metal goodness and plenty of heavy riffing alongside their intriguing lyrics. A particular personal favourite track is penultimate track A Ghost of Memories, which opens up with a funky little riff that’s joined by huge crashing drums and continues under heavy vocals. A really cool little darting riff comes in under big drawn-out vocals halfway through, then a spinning guitar line over creepy whispered vocals drop into a wild section of heavy guitars and drums. Give it a listen below:
We had a chat with the duo to find out more. Read on below…
GR: Who are Hour of Anguish? What’s the backstory, how did you get together?
HoA: “Hour of Anguish is based on two friends that come from two different continents to try to use their different music influences to create somethings that mixes both of their influences, by pushing each-other to their creative limits. Formed in 2015, Hour of Anguish is the duo of Andreas Henriksson and RL Potts. Joining forces after the leaving their projects Somber (Suicide Records) and December’s Shadow (Blue Pie Records) Andreas hails originally from the Gothenburg, Sweden and Richard comes from the New American Metal scene.”
GR: You just released Denial. What should people be expecting from the song?
HoA: “Denial is a perfect example of what Hour of Anguish has to offer with Andreas’s Swedish melodic death metal influences blending with Richard’s poetic style of lyric writing. Andreas really channelled the Godfathers of the Gothenburg scene to create a intricate, intense, and icy sonic soundscape. Richard was heavily inspired by the writing of Christopher Hyatt in The Psychopath’s Bible: For the Extreme Individual for the lyrical content of this song:
“We are all complacently counting down to the end of existence. Many pray for an afterlife to save them and an imaginary heaven to coddle them rather than saving themselves and turning this earth into that heaven… for no one alive is innocent. Everyone is involved in accumulating points and surviving. Thus, every act of survival is an act of destruction. Every breath destroys universes. We are all murderers.”
GR: How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
HoA: “HOA is predominately an intense blend of Swedish melodic death metal and alternative metal. In our new album Into the Empty specifically, we touch on groove, thrash, and experimental metal elements as well.”
GR: What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
HoA: “For Andreas, music is his muse. He is really influenced by the time, place, and current events that are shaping our reality and defining what needs to be said musically. Richard’s lyrics channel his esoteric leanings and often dive into the current that runs down the Left-Hand Path. Occult, Gnosticism, self-liberation, ephemeral Existence, nihilism, absurdism, Thelma, and chaos magic.”
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
HoA: “Some of our biggest influences are At the Gates, In Flames, Lamb of God, Slipknot, Pantera, Captain Beefheart, The Haunted, Frank Zappa, Soilwork, Dark Tranquility, Entombed.”
GR: We’ve not met many Swedish bands recently. What are your thoughts on the current Swedish metal/rock scene?
HoA: “The traditional Gothenburg style is the hallmark of the melodic death sound. So much has changed since the height of its popularity in the early 2000s. Andreas still believes the Gothenburg scene is still strong, growing, but changing. Many Swedish bands are really expanding and shifting their styles and embracing more experimental styles in their writing.
“Avatar is a great example of this and has really grown into the US market through after years of reinvention. In Flames is building a more melodic sound with each album. It really boils down to ‘Evolve or Die.’ It is a balance between the core definition of what it means to be ‘Gothenburg’ versus what the audience gets excited about.”
GR: What have you got coming up in 2020?
HoA: “The global pandemic has really slowed down our ability to tour our new album Into the Empty so we are really focusing on reaching out over social media channels and continuing to create awesome content. We just finished our video for Oblivion from Into the Empty, and really look forward to making 2020 a great digital year for our music. As soon as things clear up, we are hoping to get back on the festival circuit and hopefully do some European, North and South American Dates.
GR: Anything else you’d like people to know about you/your music?
Andreas: “We challenge people to forget they think they know about metal and get lost in our music. Metal is always growing and evolving, we want to reflect that with Into the Empty. We have grown a tremendous amount since our last release Solace of Sorrow and I really think we are going to give people a little of what they know and a ton they never expected.”
Richard: “We are really in a time where the world feels like it is on the edge of a knife. The government, media, and populations keep preaching the ‘End of Days’ trope. I really rode that wave in the writing process and art and think people are really going to love the stark, bleak, and real nihilism of this album.”