music-review_-a-hill-to-die-upon-holy-despairA HILL TO DIE UPON
Holy Despair
Bombworks Records

Third release from Illinois melodic black/death metal band A Hill To Die Upon. Usually, I would have been waiting not-so-patiently for the release and had been upon that like an overused simile; but, due to the release coinciding with a certain existential meltdown brought on by the dissolution of reality at the time. Long story. Rather would not get into it right now.

Anyway, once I got back onto the proverbial horse, I finally got around to discovering that one of my favorite go-to bands for delicious Scandinavian death metal from America released a third album back in 2014, I wasted no time purchasing Holy Despair and giving it a solid listen, back to front, at least a handful of times during the day.

Holy Despair continues on with the mid-paced melodic death metal style like with the previous two releases; and like the other two, the band just doesn’t stop at that, mixing in some dark and doomy flavoring, some neo-black metal styles, and some folk metal leanings to keep things from getting stale. It’s heavy, dark, with a lot of atmosphere, but also with some great riffs and melodies going on throughout. There’s an acoustic instrumental interlude a bit past the mid-way point (“Somme”), and I’m certain that the cut “Rime (Jerub-Ba’al)” is a continuation of “Rime” from the first album. The highlights that cap off the album, though, are the nifty death metal arrangement of the traditional folk tune “O Death”, and “Satan Speaks”, which is based on a poem by C. S. Lewis that has a nice groove to it.

Overall, Holy Despair does not disappoint. Here’s hoping I’m more on the ball with the next release. Highly recommended.