Canadian dark lords Hostium have arrived from the frozen North to ply us with devastating debut ‘The Bloodwine of Satan’. Released on Iron Bonehead early this year, it is a record that I missed on its initial release but I am very glad I eventually caught up with it. This is pure, unadulterated Canadian metal, carved from the darkest places.
The album opens with the building menace of ‘Through Realms of Oblivion/Holy Spirit of Satan’, a brooding intro that explodes into a cavalcade of raging blastbeats and demonic summonings. Hostium’s black metal is imbued with an innate sense of the decrepid, the morbid, the decay of man in the face of overwhelming Satanic power. The prime example for me is the smothering ‘Bloodwine Chalice’, which writhes with a dark energy and ancient hate. The impenetrable gloom of ‘Arcane Deathtomb’, the bleak ‘From the Soulless Ruins’ and particularly the fiery ‘Thirst for Destruction’ are mere showcases for the black, relentless power that lives at the heart of Hostium.
With a vocal performance verging on the gargling, unholy voice of Satan himself, icy riffage that oozes with darkened melodies and a wonderfully bleak guitar tone, and a seeping atmosphere of eternal decay, Hostium’s debut is a glorious imagining of a world wreathed in darkness and snow, where the great horned god sits laughing on his throne.