Kindred by HexvesselRelease date: April 17, 2020
Label: Svart Records
It’s been almost four years since I’ve listened to Hexvessel’s music. Formed in 2009 by Mat “Kvohst” McNerney, who also is the lead singer of Grave Pleasures and the former lead vocalist for Norwegian extreme and black metal bands Dødheimsgard and Code, Hexvessel’s music have this crossover between folk, psychedelic, and garage rock rolled into one giant smoothie. I first became aware of their music back when I was a student in the early 2010s.
And it was like something that just caught my attention that carried the aspects of the late ‘60s/early ‘70s sound that was right in my alley at the right time, at the right place. For me, this was really good music. Like giving Mumford & Sons the big giant middle finger, Hexvessel honors and stays true to their own sound and vision by going into a direction on where they wanted to go.
This year, Hexvessel, have unleashed their new studio album after being resigned to their label Svart Records entitled Kindred. I have to say that Hexvessel has returned to their mysterious roots that have these darker and enigmatic approaches for what is to come.
‘Billion Year Old Being’ starts off with these ocean waves turned into a mournful texture. It suddenly gives the band a chance to pound these doors down with their instruments by bringing more terror that awaits us. With hallucinating effects, VOX organ sounds, psychedelic swirls, and Mat’s theatrical structures that honor two of the masters, Alice Cooper and Van Der Graaf Generator’s Peter Hammill.
The last three minutes on the song are like a nightmarish maze that is channeling this Hendrix-sque nod to the Axis: Bold As Love-era between Kimmo’s violin, Jesse’s lead guitar, and Jukka’s laid-back drum textures. ‘Demian’ feels like something straight out of compilation set, Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic-era 1965-1968 with a middle-eastern twist that has a heavier tone.
It shows us this very interesting take for the band to go into this garage rock waltz while ‘Fire of the Mind’ walks into this mournful guitar introduction that gives us some insight into this horrific scenery that just happened from the reinforcements on a murder that has occurred by some dangerous animal. ‘Bog Bodies’ sounds like an eerie spaghetti western as if King Crimson’s Lizard-era had teamed p with composer Ennio Morricone to work on the fourth and final chapter of The Man With No Name.
‘Phaedra’ has this dooming trumpet that fills up the forest while each of the band members is facing up to the challenge by walking into this dangerous area that nobody goes near. And it becomes this funeral pyre to stab its venomous heart that is filled with pure hatred. And for Heikkinen, he pulls his heart and soul in his guitar with some incredible textures that would’ve made Terje Rypdal very proud of him.
Both ‘Kindred Moon’ and ‘Magical & Demand’ have this strong sensibility for Hexvessel to return to its roots of the Waltz once more. Showing their romantic side, McNerney’s vocals can give you this sincere side of what he can do by going through the landscapes of the pale moonlight shining through the night sky. And then witnessing the final days of the person’s life to see this majestic creature coming to life and giving him or her the last rite and knowing it’s time to head into the afterlife.
Hexvessel’s new album took me about eight listens on whether my earphones were going to accept their new album or not. And around the tenth time, I welcomed it. Kindred is the band returning to their original sound. While I was never crazy with their previous release When We Are Death, I felt that they were about to walk towards the deep end. But I knew right there and then, I couldn’t give up on them. Kindred is a welcoming return to the darker edges of the forest. So, if you admire Alec K. Redfearn & The Eyesores, Jess & The Ancient Ones, Comus, the Killer-era of Alice Cooper, and Peter Hammill, Kindred is right up your alley to walk into the mysterious forest of Hexvessel.