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HOD - "Book of the Worm" (CD)

HOD - "Book of the Worm" CD cover image

"Book of the Worm" track listing:

1. When The Ghouls Feed
2. Den Of Wolves
3. I Am Destroyer
4. Through The Gates (They Come For Me)
5. Death Whores
6. Under Tyranny’s Hammer
7. Where Are The Demons
8. Beneath The Mountains Of The Scorpion

Reviewed by on September 1, 2014

"Once the book is opened, tales of wolves, demons, dimensional gateways, and ghouls are revealed through pounding drums, highly amplified guitars, and rabid growls."

Last year, Hod gave us a taste of "Book of the Worm" with the "Uncreated Demo." Said recording contained "Beneath the Mountains of the Scorpion," "I Am Destroyer" and "When the Ghouls Feed." These tracks have become staples in the band's live performance, but due to changes in lineup, studio, and labels, the band was forced to wait five years to follow up its initial full-length "Serpent." Fans of the debut will rejoice in the infernal death offered on this sophomore effort via Arctic.

Renowned artists Jon Zig (Averse Sefira, Deeds of Flesh) created a nightmarish visual to grace the album's cover. Worms open their lamprey-like fanged mouths to invite the listener in for eight tracks of brutal fantasy. Once the book is opened, tales of wolves, demons, dimensional gateways, and ghouls are revealed through pounding drums, highly amplified guitars, and rabid growls. Dennis Munoz (Solstice) found the ideal sound for the band. Every instrument sounds big and powerful without overwhelming the mix. The guitars are distorted but not murky and the drums pound with significant force but never over take any of the other instruments.

With three-fifths of the original cast returning, the San Antonio act sounds tight. This cast includes Lord Necron (guitar), Vladibeer "Beer" Reebs, and drummer Dennis Sanders. Even though he wasn't with the band from day one, T.A. has been a part of the band since 2009 and played countless shows with the group. While not a fixture in the band, Sanders has manned the kit on every album. His blend of blasts, thrash drumming, and double bass keeps the album fast and violent. His double bass is perfectly timed with T.A.'s pounded bass strings during certain stretches of "Death Whores." Check out the hyper blasts on "Den of Wolves" and the pace pushing change on "Under Tyranny's Hammer."

Some parts are reminiscent of Morbid Angel: the opening segment of "Through the Gates (They Come For Me) resembles the classic "Immortal Rites." Lord Necron whammy bars a sick solo midway through the track, and even some melody on "Under Tyranny's Hammer." The quick string bends of "I Am Destroyer" and the speed picking on "Where Are the Demons" inject the album with infectious riffing. No riff is more memorable, though, than the sliding strings on "When the Ghouls Feed," which loops in a serpent-like fashion.

While the album contains catchy riff after catchy riff, it could benefit from more dynamics. Lord Necron's solos simply aren't heard enough, some of the riffs become repetitious, and Reebs mostly sings in the same tone. Hod is on the verge of greatness, and finding a greater sense of diversity could push the band over the edge!

Highs: A smorgasbord of riffs and double bass destruction.

Lows: The riffs are catchy but repetitious in places.

Bottom line: A solid record that is just a step away from greatness.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)