Hexis | ‘Tando Ashanti’
Has it really been three years since ‘Abalam’ blew me away?
And have Hexis produced another blistering LP?
This time with the demon of ‘Tando Ashanti’ (the name of a demon in Christian mythology who desires sacrifices in the numbers of the seven men and seven women) acting as inspiration and recurring character?
‘Tando’ serves as an effective opener, with a Neurosis feel to it as the chords invoke the feeling of a ritual.
The whispered vocals (buried in the mix) are in Latin, and relate to the Tando Ashanti demon in it’s quest for sacrifices. It’s almost like the demon itself is setting the bar for what is to come, by informing the listeners of it’s intentions.
‘Ashanti’ takes things up a notch by speeding up the guitar into black metal territory and keeping the tempo medium, almost tribal, with the result being the effect of being engulfed.
And the lyrics match the sentiment, with lines such as “Faithless/But yet you pray in hope that your nightmares will disappear/That these images will leave your head…”
Halfway through, it slows down and goes back to the apocalyptic invoking feel of ‘Tando’ before descending into noise rock territory, with the guitar riffs being replaced by feedback.
As the first proper song, it puts the listener off kilter. Normally, you expect a full on onslaught which grabs your throat and doesn’t let go. ‘Ashanti’ doesn’t do this, but it still manages to worm it’s way into your conscience.
‘Molestus’ sees the tempo being upped without sacrificing any of the tribal intensity.
‘Ritualis’ further sees increases of speed, while the lyrics reflect on “…sins of the father, the sins of the sons, tangled in a string of lies.
Scratch these words in the holy walls, scratch these words in the holy bones.” Real end of the world feel to this one, while ‘Resurrectio’ is a two minute bass and drums piece, with a few sound effects making it sound like the listener is in a tomb.
I could spend all day going through each track but, if you’ve read this far, you’ll have an idea of how it sounds by now.
Make no mistake, this is an unrelenting album.
Lying, stylistically, somewhere in between hardcore and black metal (although certainly leaning more to the latter), it’s a vast swamp of filth and harsh terrain that needs to be appreciated in the right frame of mind.
And it manages to be better than ‘Abalam’ just by upping the ante and creating a world within the album that suffocates the listener in the pit of blackness that engulfs the demon the record is named after.
Plus, once again, Hexis go for a very simple image as their cover. And, like the last one, the use of colour hues, shades and lighting make this image stand out for it’s starkness. Look at the lines on the guy’s fist.
This isn’t a stylised image, but one that actually matches the mood of the record: windswept, ugly and real.
Album of the month.
4.5 / 5 – Christopher Owens ::: 11/06/17