It’s been a while since I’ve had any new Blackened Hardcore to kill my ear cells with. Well, this changes that, and what an album to change it with. If you’re familiar with Denmark’s Hexis, you’re familiar with the style they bring to the table. It’s a very different take on Black Metal-infused Hardcore that bands like Young and in the Way, Trap Them, Sunlight’s Bane, ect. have brought to the forefront over the last good number of years. Aside from the usual marriage of the misanthropic inclination and riff style of Black Metal and the song structures and aesthetics of Chaotic Hardcore, Hexis takes it a step further and makes something already dark even darker by injecting a significant amount of almost Black Cilice-style atmosphere into the mix and let that do most of the talking. If you heard their last album Abalam, you know exactly what i’m talking about and already know what to expect from this one.
The atmospheric production adds a very ominous feel to their already chaotic sound that creates a very unique experience of a listen that may bring forth both exhilaration and a feeling of impending doom. Try to picture a band like Vastum or Bestia Arcana if they went the Hardcore route but kept the muddy, hazy atmospheric elements that make them stand out. That’s basically what this equates to. From the beginning of (partial) title track Ashanti (other title track being brief intro Tando), you’re thrown into an abyss of mid-paced, almost doomy, Altar of Plagues-like chaotic and unnerving song structures surrounded by a bleak and dismal atmosphere that keeps you entranced as it assaults you with said chaos of the music itself. It’s a weird but interesting balance of aggression and potency that only bands like this and the others mentioned can pull off.
The tracks themselves aren’t all that different, nor do they need to be. Again, similar to Black Cilice, the atmosphere does most of the work. The music itself consists of (mostly) menacing tremolo riffage, rumbling double bass drumming and abyssal shrieked vocals with the occasional slow, doomy moments like in Cordolium or the drony, sorts of prelude track Resurrection, which leads into one of the more unique, faster-paced tracks Septem. Those however, are the only tracks I can really call ‘unique’ for this album. The rest of the album follows the same formula of ominous, rumbling, tremolo-filled assaults on your senses while the trance-like atmosphere keeps you zoned in. It’s not the most adept method, but it is effective, as proven by these guys and Black Cilice and bands alike.
Overall, this album isn’t much different from Abalam, but it’s just as effective. Hexis take hatred-fuled, nihilistic Hardcore, give it a unique spin by giving it a dismal Atmospheric Black Metal seasoning and making it even more nihilistic, brooding and even more terrifying than it initially could have been. Even if Hardcore isn’t exactly your thing, if you’re a fan of bands like Black Cilice, Vastum, Impetuous Ritual, Bestia Arcana, Portal, Ævangelist and others of that sort, then I would definitely recommend this to you, as well as Abalam. I honestly would place Abalam a little bit above this one as the better one, but this one is surely no slouch. If you want your senses desecrated but looking for something a little more out there, by Metal AND Hardcore standards, give this one a shot! It’s worth it.
Until next time.