[11th January 2014]
[Halo Of Flies/MusicFearSatan]
Abalam is one of the many Kings of Hell, attributed to Paimon, apparently one of the more powerful Kings of Hell and one of the more obedient servants of Lucifer himself. With this in mind, it is rather apt then that Copenhagen’s Hexis have bestowed that same moniker upon their latest album, for it is very much a dark and hellish experience, right through its thirteen tracks and thirty-five minutes.
Blending black metal, hardcore and even hints of post-metal, Hexis signal their morbidly brooding yet viciously aggressive intent from the outset: “Faciem,” with squalling guitars and ghastly vocals, invokes quite an unnerving sense of unease, like a maelstrom dragging you down to the depths of hell.
The guitars have been recorded to really bite into your consciousness; to unsettle you and throw you off balance, and this is a master-stroke of production. Barely is there a chance to comprehend what has just come and gone before you are thrown back into the grasp of Abalam. The tracks have distinctly short running times, but this serves to keep the listener on their toes, aware that something is lurking just around the corner.
There is a brief moment of reprieve from the bombast during “Supplex”, where everything bar the guitars drop away and we are treated to some gritty, feedback-drenched sludginess, but this is soon forgotten as the band launch into the title track “Abalam”; a droning beast of a song and well worthy of sharing the title with the aforementioned king. Nowhere on the album is there a better example of the beauty in simplicity; the drums hold everything together with a straightforward yet massive beat, and again the guitars creep up at you with that evil intent.
Vocalist Filip possesses an immensely disturbing growl/snarl/scream combination. His vocal placements are well thought-out and are extremely powerful, but not overbearing. From the first haunting moment – “Whispering voices in my ears, a dark face in front of my eyes” – through to the final uttering of “These are not my words, these are not your words”, that feeling of something or someone hovering just behind you, just out of your peripheral vision, is ultimately a powerful and disconcerting experience and one to be lauded.
Hexis have created something beyond powerful; a transcendent excursion into a dark, demented realm. The journey is there to be enjoyed and experienced with a certain sense of trepidation and unease, and, as with all great artworks, once you have left it will keep calling you back for more.