Friday, April 27, 2012

Sutekh Hexen - Larvae (2012)

Sutekh Hexen - Larvae

Now, I'm a fan of Sutekh Hexen. I like all of their previous releases. If you listened to them, you would know that they're pretty much noisy black metal riffs and...noise. But the previous releases were somewhat harsh and actually had some black metal in them; you could hear the black rasps and drums and whatnot, but this time, it’s much more subtle, transendental, melancholic. Now of course it has plenty of black metal and noise, but it’s less obvious here, since it’s all a haze of noise to the “unexperienced” ear.

The first track, “Isvar Savasana,” is a track composed of poignant synths, noisy drones, and remote guitar notes in the background. The distorted vocals build up along with the guitar sounds until it all crashes into a void of black noise. This is also a proof that production helps noise artists as well: if it was shitty on this track, this would end up as a wall of ugly noise that does nothing but random clamor. Instead, you have a dynamic arena of demonic vocals, drums and riffs, walls of blissful static, and other black noise paraphernalia. This sense is what helps the record from failing into an ugly salad of random noise.

The second track, “Lead Us in Warfare,” also the shortest one, opens with a doom-like riff and noise, and then aptly changes into a martial rhythm with high distorted vocals and crushing bass. The track plods in a lugubrious pace and creates the sense of a battlefield. The combination of the vocals and bass here sounds like some broken military equipment while its surroundings are being bombarded into oblivion. The vocals fade out, and the bass lingers on some more. Felicitous primordial audio-terror.

The third and final track, “Let There Be Light,” is the zenith. Dolorous and mournful, it brings forth stark and grim walls of bleak winters. At first, the track evokes a sense of an eternal and frostbitten winter, with forlorn chants and howls, until it breaks into flaring riffs accompanied with noise that slowly include a void-like guitar riff. It clearly shows that Sutekh Hexen knows its black noise and how to aptly deal with juxtaposed black metal and noise.

Larvae is an interesting album, to say the least. It’s a meditation in chaos, with many ideas and layers, that most of them have been executed well enough. Naturally, it has some flaws: some points aren’t clear enough, other ones aren’t engaging enough, many parts with generic studio pitch corrections, not enough awe-inspiring moments, and the likes. But if you like black noise, experimentation, or just need something new in your black metal, you should most definitely give this album a shot.

Rating: 8.5/10

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