Mat Kvohst McNerney has really come a long way: from being simply a teenager metalhead in England he became one of the key players in avantgarde black metal movement with bands such as Dødheimsgard and Code. Some people would be completely satisfied to wallow in the same their whole career but Mat is not among them: he threw it all away, moved to Finland and moved onto the completely different artistic pastures, while in the same time receiving huge commerical exposure. I guess that you all know the story behind Beastmilk/Grave Pleasures and if those band’s are Mat’s outlet for primal rock energy, Hexvessel is a different side of the coin – deeply spiritual experience, a band made by relatives in order to make connection with nature in harmony. Two acclaimed full lengths for Svart Records are behind them so Century Media decided to give Hexvessel the opportunity to represent themselves to bigger auditorium so here we have their third album entitled When We Are Death in front of us. I must admit that I found Hexvessel previously to be a bit too mellow for my taste but When We Are Death just suits me fine, and I will shoot right out of the gate: this is their best album in my opinion. If you haven’t meet them already, it should be said that Hexvessel play some sort of neofolk/psych rock but accusing the band of being some cheap retro attempt is completely out of the question. They are musically inspired by eras bygone but they take their influences, mash some more surprises into something of their own and come up with completely original product. When We Are Death is in the same time the most varied Hexvessel album chock full of unexpected turns and their more accessible one which is truly a feat in itself. I think that I can feel some energy from Grave Pleasures just spilling over on When We Are Death as the music is sounding lively and overall tempo is a bit faster, which suits me just fine as I have already said. It goes without saying that When We Are Death carries huge shamanistic ambience, you can really feel the smell of wooden soil and falling leaves when you listen to this record which I am truly sucker for; this period of year with strange weather (at least here in Serbia) had me hiking in nature a lot and When We Are Death represented good companion on these excursions. On top of everything comes Mat’s charismatic voice which leads the whole story and ties everything together in seamless passion. All in all, When We Are Death is one of the best albums in 2016 and we will have the chance to witness this majesty live in April here, I just hope that the fact Death To All and Obscura are playing the same day won’t deter too many people and the gig will went well… Truly recommended release!
- Trifunovic Slobodan (8,5)
- Century Media Records CD