Sunday, 10 March 2019

Hexenight - Frailty. From despair comes a next level recording.

Hexenight – Frailty.

Self-Released Cassette, 2019,

Broken fingernails.
Follow Me Further.
A Wooden Effigy.
Seeking the Sky.

I confess to not knowing anything about Hexenight, so I’ve been sitting on doing this review for a while. I’ve played the album a bit over the last month. The project is two members Brian and Aaron based in Portland, Oregon. There have been two other albums released on their Bandcamp. Frailty was written over a year of frustrations, mental illness and personal tragedies.

From the offset there is a unique, esoteric quality to Hexenight; the opening track Broken Fingernails is ritualistic with a deep, broody sound. The vocals are a tortured, tornado of agonised pain pushed  cleverly into the background, so you’re forced to engage with them. The intense instrumentation is repetitive with additions of noise- the distorted resonance of the vocal creates more noise on top of this. Spears builds epic chants and echoing sound that ties in and continues well from the first track. This has a more warped vocal that is undecipherable, and the music again relies on overriding repetition, the beats behind the repetitive chant are intensified from the first ones and work well. There is an impressively restrained use of distorted noise. Follow Me Further moves into an ethereal, shifting Dark Ambient sound, the background is threatening and growls ominously demonstrating some impressive low-level electronics – these factors intensify as aggressive electronics and howling blasts of tunnel noise build A Wooden Effigy. This is where the album intensifies further and further as we head to the finale - Seeking the Sky. This takes a more noise like approach, still using intensified beats and screamed vocals. This further erupts until it suddenly dies off to a song sample creating an emotive end to Frailty.

I’d argue that Frailty is higher level work. The vocals are varied and strong, the work retains mystery and plays with dynamics of sound beautifully to create one of the strongest recordings I have heard this year.

Choppy Noodles 2019.

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