Shadow Kingdom Records have an extraordinarily off-putting start in 2007 with their first two releases. The first one was the excellent album of Stygian Shore and this here is the second one that is also the first full-length of US-Doom Metal band HOUR OF 13. Obviously, Tim's record label is only interested in offering the best quality, because this album is a Doom Metal fan's wet dream and it's really an impressive debut. Some bands need more than two albums to reach the brilliance of this group. The main-man behind HOUR OF 13 is Chad Davis, who is supported by vocalist Phil Swanson, who also played in a few other Doom bands like Earthlord f.e..Corey Leonard is the third six-stringer of HOUR OF 13, who is only playing lead guitar on three tracks. But don't worry, the album has a full band sound, what makes it just more surprising that Chad Davis did record all the guitar, bass and drums by himself, because the entire sound and production is just perfect for this kind of Doom. It's clear from the sinister artwork and the cover with the baphomet that HOUR OF 13 are disciples of the occultist path, with a ritualistic sense of doom metal groove and occult lyrical themes to boot.
The lyrics have an intensity I didn't read for a long time and here's one verse I like to quote. It's from the opener 'Call me Satan' and this words stuck in my brain since I received this promo disc. Here we go: "Naked in wait in the pentagram / With sacred blade self mutilate / To my own wounds I masturbate . Some will find this ridiculous or too bizarre, but in combination with the vocals and music it works perfectly. The music embodies for me everything I love about Doom since I discovered this music in the 80's. HOUR of 13 have written eight unholy heavy anthems, which can be simply described with the word 'perfect', because that's what they are. Chad Davis and Phil Swanson have written excellent hooklines and powerful melodies, that are pure emotion.
The clear and expressive singing style of Phil Swanson is outstanding without the cheesy factor. His voice reminds me to singer like Dan Fondelius (Count Raven) or Zebb Parks (ex- Witchfinder General) and even the music is a like a perfect cross of both legendary bands. Of course, they also worship at the altar of Ozzy era-Black Sabbath. Just listen to ‚Submissive to Evil", where they have integrated a few heavy boogie-driven parts in the same way Black Sabbath did it in their early days. Diversity is an important factor of HOUR OF 13, instead of just following the formula of slow riffing. Despite all influences, here we can listen to a band which is able to create their own sound, and especially their talent in writing memorable songs seems to be huge. HOUR OF 13 avoid any kind of pointless riff-orgy and focus more on an effective final result, and for my taste they never fail in their aim. Well, I could go on and on with my endless praise for HOUR OF 13, and if you have listen to this album maybe you'll understand my words. This album marks the beginning of a legendary band, which will soonly take place in the holy temple of Doom Metal. Let's hope, that they will record more in the future and do some touring here in Germany. I'll be in the first row....