To be honest, I haven’t really listened to much ‘Death/doom’ despite being a fan of early Katatonia. My interest in the other extreme genres of metal never really enabled me to dive into this niche of extreme music. So, when I got my hands on this album I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but rather decided to give it a try based on my remembrance of Katatonia. And boy was this a pleasant surprise. Self-Hatred provides an atmospheric and emotional record, which uses hunting and soothing melodies mixed with tortured vocals to invoke a sense of pleasant yet desolate impact on listeners that will sure make them come back for more.
Self-Hatred is a band from Czech Republic, and all their lyrics are in their own language, although the dark and depressive themes are almost palpable even to foreign ears. But as a matter of fact, this album is all about the music, which doesn’t hold back anything for foreign listeners. The sense of strong emotions is present all throughout the album. Use of melodic guitars and keyboards creates an atmosphere of doom and dread, and the typical yet appropriate implementation of deep death vocals, which are often chilly and tortured add a further layer upon the experience.
The production is clean and crisp, which is a plus cause anything too edgy might have deducted points in my book. The song-writing shows a level of maturity and musicianship that is quite a feat for such a young band. There is an abundance of heavy doom riffs, operatic sections of synths, some acoustic guitars, and also spoken words complementing the music. The vocals have some apparent black influences and the music at times even reaches the range of funeral doom which rather again can be attributed to the incredible scope of these talented artists.
There are almost no negatives to discuss here, only except maybe be the length, which is a bit short for my liking. I also would have loved a bit more use of clean vocals and acoustics. But what is on offer here is a passionate and emotional ride through a dark and melancholic landscape. These people can play their instruments very well and knows what they are aiming at.
The highlights for me here would be the opener ‘Konnec’, ‘Odraz’, ‘Hlubiny’, ‘Strepy’ and the ending track ‘Epitaf’. The heavier track ‘Strepy’ followed by equally punchy ‘Vzplanuti’ delivers just the required push after such a deeply melancholic first half and the beautifully emotional ‘Epitaf’ closes the record on a high note inviting the listeners to immediately dive in for a replay.
I will definitely be eager to listen to what this band has to offer in the future, cause there is much to love here for any fans of death/doom and fans of emotional metal as well.