The first official album Hoath guitarist Shatraug appeared on was Horna’s Hiidentorni back in 1997 – the first in a long list of more or less ephemeral projects, all dedicated to the harsh, lo-fi and strictly underground creed of Finnish black metal. So by tackling a more death metal-inspired direction for once with growled vocals instead of the usual shrieks and Transylvanian Hunger-esque minimal riffs, his latest venture – alongside Satanic Warmaster live drummer vHolm – is a welcome departure, even if the occult and mystical lyrical content still follows along the same lines.
The problem with Hoath, whose Codex III drops 10 years after its predecessor, is that once you’re past the first couple of songs, you soon realise that, as with most of his toys, the prolific Shatraug didn’t put much thought into it, following his instinct instead. So as spontaneous and true-underground-personified as this is (for once, you can actually hear the bass), not much sticks out from the album’s chaotic yet redundant rumblings. Not that he must care that much as he’s probably moved to a new project already.