Label: Svart Records
Release date: 17 April 2020
Format reviewed: High-quality Digital Recording
I have to admit; when I read the description “folk metal” and “Finland” I got overly excited to review HEXVESSEL and their fifth studio album “Kindred”. My excitement got somewhat jeopardized when I noticed that the group has in fact been deleted from the Metal Archives due to the fact that “It´s obviously not metal”. Their words, not mine.
As “Billion Year old Being” starts out you will soon hear that this is some sort of a Ghost-ish rock with a lot of psychedelic elements; old electrical organ, retro sounding mix and a lot of 60´s vibe. Although not very “hitty”, it’s very much on the disturbing side of things and quite unsettling to listen to, especially during the chorus. I would place this somewhere between Led Zeppelin and The Doors. “Demian”follows up in a more western vibe in a slow and bluesy kind of way with emphasis on feel. The desperate tone of the vocals gives this a sense of an underlying evil topped with nice craftsmanship on the instruments.
“Bog Bodies”is yet another slow and mellow track with the same previous western feel, and the vocals continue on the strong path however this time along with a bell type keyboard helping out. Together with the occasional violin and saxophone this track is a pure gem; it proofs that Hexvessel knows the genre they have stuck to all these years. It’s a challenge to make a song like this for over four minutes without making it boring for the listener.
Building up for something that never really comes, “Phaedra”gave me a Nick Cave feel mixed with an occult in a forest during the Wild West back in the mid-1800. All the layers and moods are spot on, and although not metal it is built on the same corner stones as metal and rock. “Magical & Damned”is quite possibly the strongest track of the album in the same way; it’s strikingly beautiful and powerful in its simplicity. It nails the soft parts of Hexvessel, for sure.
“Joy of Sacrifice” closes the album the same way it opened; eerie guitar and lurking vocals. This album, as a journey, should be listened to as a whole to get the full experience which sort of feels like it will never take off, but that turns out to be quite alright.
Although perhaps not metal, that is something you tend to forget about since the album sounds so right, and is true to what it is. Although surprised at the lack of metal, I wasn’t disappointed with what I got. This is a brilliant folky rock album where the distortion is mostly turned off, and we are treated with almost everything else that makes music enjoyable. 8.5/10 Julia Katrin
8.5/10 : To Greatness and Glory!
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