Hekseri – The Atrocity (Early Demos)

The most surprising thing about Hekseri’s music is how melodic it is. A description of black/thrash metal does not genuinely make you think of romantic melody, despite how each of those root genres frequently possess such an element in spades. But Hekseri changes it up by playing fairly brutal black/thrash that periodically dives into sections of surprisingly great, medieval melody worthy of many legendary bands. Hekseri is a pretty popular cult act in the New England black metal scene, and for good reason: they make unique, intriguing music with a great deal of talent behind it.

First things first: the production on this collection ranges from listenable to pretty poor. The tape hiss is always very audible, and the guitar riffs are often difficult to discern due to an overly cluttered, murky sound. Drums are often reduced to a background rumble, and the only things which really stick out are the (admittedly excellent) solos and viciously spat vocals. The main culprits in this regard are the tracks off the ‘Belzebut, Prince’ demo: they have the rawest production of all the tracks and aren’t a super comfortable listen. I’ve heard worse, though, and the low quality of the production just means that you have to listen more closely: nothing is actually indistinguishable. Moreover, the music really is worth listening to closely: there’s a lot of really cool, varied riffing and melodies under the production, and it’s really a worthwhile compilation as a whole.

Hekseri’s music is very fast and violent, but is also very melodic, as previously stated. The most unique part of these melodies is their definitely medieval sound: they could be parts of minstral folk tunes from the 1100’s without trouble. The solos are the most clear example of it, and each one is extremely well written and memorable. The solos form the musical centerpieces for every song and are some of the most unique in recent memory. Such an atmosphere is present in the riffing as well, though it is to a lesser extent: the band generally preoccupies themselves with a more ‘brutal’, Norwegian-inspired style for the most part, though laced with an underlying breed of melody that sets it apart from most. Drumming is weirdly hyper, and sound machine-made in general, though Hekseri does have a drummer. The blasting seems almost too fast and happy for the music; it’s strange to describe drumming as ‘perky’ sounding, but it is here for some reason. Vocals are a higher-pitched form of Abbath’s croaking, but are emitted with a compelling level of intensity.

Although I feel the production is somewhat problematic, it’s not enough of an issue to dissuade me from recommending this tape. The music is simply too unique and creative not to try out; I suppose it’s not too far removed from the sort of thing Peste Noire is doing, though this is much more uptempo and aggressive and less pretentious. As a collector’s item, it’s quite nice: a two hundred limited tape from a very cult New England artist is something I enjoy a lot. But above and beyond the product, there is a great level of artistry and majesty at work in this music. This compilation shows huge creativity and atmospheric grasp on the part of this band, and I want to hear more from these guys soon. Get it for the melodies, stay for the music, and don’t be turned off by a bit of fuzz.

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~ by noktorn on October 1, 2007.

2 Responses to “Hekseri – The Atrocity (Early Demos)”

  1. […] intriguing music with a great deal of talent behind it.” — Norktorn, Metal Archives < https://noktorn.wordpress.com/2007/10/01/hekseri-the-atrocity-early-demos/ […]

  2. […] intriguing music with a great deal of talent behind it.” — Norktorn, Metal Archives < https://noktorn.wordpress.com/2007/10/01/hekseri-the-atrocity-early-demos/ […]

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