Pays : Finland Label : Svart Records Genres et styles : Black Metal / Folk / Psych-Rock Année : 2023

Hexvessel – Polar Veil

· par Laurent Bellemare

Hexvessel and the Scandinavian black metal scene have always been in close contact, but now these influences are making their presence felt in the Finnish band’s music. As such, Polar Veil invites the listener on a surprisingly icy and melancholy adventure. The album’s opening immediately imposes a much slower rhythm, in which we can recognize a form of ethereal doom metal. Most of the time, we stay well away from the fast tempi to which the quartet has accustomed us. Instead, we’re left to rumble along with tremolo riffs and vaguely dissonant chords. A song like ‘A Cabin in Montana’ is riddled with typical black metal chord progressions.

On top of these foundations, a melancholy but comforting voice echoes with its delay trails, mingling with the higher-pitched guitar melodies. Whereas we used to associate the band with a form of catchy, psychedelic folk-rock, a shift towards the language of metal takes place here with impunity. It’s a natural evolution, but it has to be said that today’s Hexvessel shows less uniqueness in a scene already accustomed to such mixes.

In today’s underground landscape, it’s clear that black metalized versions of other musical niches are making a splash. Think of the maximalist folk of Mount Eerie, the dark witchouse of Unison or the post-rock of Godspeed You! Black Emperor on their recent albums. Is this a musical or marketing choice for Hexvessel? Whatever the case, this direction will appeal to the pool of metalheads who already follow the band closely.

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