For those of you that know my musical tendencies, it’s a well-known fact that I have a propensity to listen to stoner rock, doom metal, and sludge. That’s why I danced for joy a little inside when I discovered that I was asked to review Haderach’s self-titled debut, Haderach. Branded as a “sci-fi inspired stoner-doom metal band from Toronto, Canada,” I couldn’t contain myself. Stoner-doom metal band from Canada? Science fiction as the main theme? That’s rocking, eh!
It was a delight to discover that Haderach is actually a one-man band led by the supremely talented Jake Hamilton. The mission of Haderach, according to their Facebook page, is to produce music that will get listeners to achieve a higher level of consciousness and uncover the mystical secrets of the universe. Amazing, right?
A three-track release clocking in at 34 minutes, there’s a lot to love about this album for doom metal enthusiasts. “Rakian Sun,” the first track, begins with equally soothing and haunting ambient sounds, preparing you for a riveting. Droning riffs and heavy beats are hypnotic on this song, which is unadulterated doom metal at its finest. Jake Hamilton’s vocals are rather impressive here, synergistic with the droning melodies, something akin to early Neurosis.
An overarching tone on this album is a consistent build-up to something epic on each track. While doom metal is perfectly executed with ambient, enduring build-ups, there’s eventually a payoff that keeps listeners engaged. While the musicianship on Haderach is robust on a technical level and typifies the genre in many aspects, it’s lacking with regards to epic moments and headbanging assaults. The second track, “Sands of Exile,” takes a more harmonious approach than the first track, alternating between chugging riffs and dissonant melodies. The hypnotizing riffs in the middle of the song eventually guide listeners through the self-described “ambient doom metal journey through science fiction and fantasy.”
The album ends with “Wormrider”, which abandons the formula of the first two songs and begins with an addictive heavy riff rather than the ambient textures. The booming riffage continues until about the three-and-a-half-minute mark, upon which the melody is slowed down by 1000% (give or take 5%, of course), introducing a more atmospheric doom feeling with textured vocals. The science-fiction aspect of the album is profoundly evident on this track, with the layered vocals adding a robotic magnetism over the fierce riffs, immersing you into the song. This is definitely the heaviest and most engaging track on the album, as it shifts from atmospheric doom metal to a heavy rock at the end. Even the most docile of metalheads will find themselves furiously headbanging to this song.
In a sub-genre that tends to rely on rehashing the same sound over and over with slight twists, it’s not surprising to see Haderach stick to a tried and true formula. However, this is a well-executed debut for a one-man band looking to make an impact within the metal scene. As someone that has a ridiculous infatuation for stoner rock and doom metal, I thoroughly enjoyed the drawn-out compositions and earthy riffs. I eagerly await the next follow up, which according to their Facebook page, should be coming this fall (titled Cult of Personality).
Written by Jonathan Berthold
*edited by Mike Milito