Bark Psychosis
Hex


5.0
classic

Review

by Nick Mongiardo CONTRIBUTOR (93 Reviews)
December 4th, 2014 | 75 replies


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Lush, thought provoking and timeless, Hex is driven by its beautiful musicianship and evocative atmosphere.

There’s something about older post rock that makes it truly stand out above the rest. Sure, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Sigur Ros both have left their incredible mark on the genre, but pioneering bands like Slint and Talk Talk could be put side by side with the former two and be seen as equally, if not more influential. Whether it be Slint’s unsettling rawness or Talk Talk’s experimental subtlety, these bands definitely released albums that could only be called one of a kind. However, when Bark Psychosis came along with Hex, post rock finally developed a name for itself and what an album Hex proved to be. Boasting a lush sound and a truly masterful array of evocative songs, Hex exists as an influential masterpiece and if closely examined, one could easily see how Explosions In The Sky gets some of their influence. Hex also happens to be the perfect name for the album because the listener will notice how it immediately casts a spell that soothes all anxiety and worry for roughly 50 minutes and for this reason, the listener will not want it to end.

The thing that sets this album apart from its other influential colleagues happens to be a more direct approach to subtlety. For example, “A Street Scene” provides endless amounts of passion and soothing moments with fantastic bass work typically drowned out by other post rock bands and one of the most unique guitar tones that continues throughout the album. In addition to quietly whispered vocals that helps aid the tranquil atmosphere, the last two minutes of the track truly creates thought provoking visions of drifting off into sleep because of how slow the come down is. It’s as if the song was created with the sole purpose of aiding the sleeping process to send the listener off into the most beautiful dream possible. “Absent Friend,” which is the preceding track, is equally as masterful with it showcasing the band’s exceptional musicianship by means of complex guitar work and exemplary bass.

While the atmosphere of Hex certainly would be the best aspect of the record, make no mistake that it also pulls no punches in terms of variety. “A Street Scene” and “Absent Friend” prove to be a bit more driven by traditional rock instruments, but “The Loom” and “Big Shot” happen to be very different compared to these two. “The Loom” starts the record off on a bit of a more classical note with it being driven by piano and strings as well as ending the track with somewhat atmospheric tribal drum beats. Meanwhile, “Big Shot” takes things to a more ambient level with soaring textures in the background along with engrossing bass work. From the more Talk Talk influenced sound of “Fingerspit” to the ambitiously written elements of the previous two mentioned here, the record soars in terms of variety.

Though every track on Hex has something stunning to offer, the two concluding tracks exist as the true highlights of them all. “Eyes and Smiles” proves to be one of the most beautiful post rock tracks ever recorded with an undeniably evocative guitar tone and a subtly emotional build up filled with blaring horns, brilliant riffs and surprisingly unsettling vocals uncharacteristic of the record. However, “Pendulum Man” closes out the record in a bit of a different light compared to the rest. The track happens to be almost solely ambient with keyboards and echoing guitar work adding to the terrain in the background. It’s an undeniably perfect way to end a masterpiece like this and there doesn't exist a single complaint about the record as a whole when it’s all said and done.

Hex exists as the huge turning point for the genre as a whole because here it was not only given an official name here, but started to give the genre the elements that it is known for today. While it may be a more traditional form of post rock, it undeniably proves to have many layers of complexity in its own right. It’s timeless, evocative and beautiful in more ways than one and it any lovers of the genre must experience this record. Jump into the car, turn it up to a high volume and let the album run its hypnotizing course on a long drive at night to be fully immersed in its genius. Any amount of anxiety, anger or sadness will be washed away in the mesmerizing journey.



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user ratings (217)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
Sam Feldman's Rating (4.5)
"Hex" was one of the first albums in history dubbed post-rock and rightfully so; there was nothing ...

Neoteric (3.5)
An original and excellent album brought down by a rather lackluster second half....

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Comments:Add a Comment 
Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
December 4th 2014


11807 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Sorry if this comes off as gushy, but man, this fucking record. Any critiques are welcome as usual guys.

Digging: Rishloo - Living as Ghosts with Buildings as Teeth

Gyromania
December 4th 2014


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

20 minutes in and this is beautiful stuff so far

i enjoyed the review

Ryus
December 4th 2014


5038 Comments


yes mongi! omg fantastic album with the review to match : ]

Digging: Arnold Schoenberg - Verklrte Nacht, Op. 4

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
December 4th 2014


11807 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks guys. And indeed Gyro, indeed.

Ryus
December 4th 2014


5038 Comments


double post *_*

Ryus
December 4th 2014


5038 Comments


haven't heard this since i was like 12 but i remember it was amazing, better give this another listen soon

Let
December 4th 2014


663 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review dude, and goddamn this album is gorgeous. Still way better than most post-rock that has come afterward

Digging: SHXCXCHCXSH - Linear S Decoded

JohnnyOnTheSpot
December 4th 2014


1930 Comments


so, a year ago ryus?

Digging: Leonardo Rosado - Adrift

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
December 4th 2014


19067 Comments


agreed with let

Digging: Objekt - Objekt #2

Ryus
December 4th 2014


5038 Comments


so, a year ago?


hehe two.

Tunaboy45
December 4th 2014


3181 Comments


Mongi posts another fantastic review.

Digging: Electric Wizard - Dopethrone

Gyromania
December 4th 2014


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i'm surprised i haven't listened to this until just now, but god damn. that was hypnotizing. i don't think i've heard an album this beautiful in a long time

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
December 4th 2014


11807 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Honestly I don't think any post rock record can top ( ) for me, but this is definitely one of the best I've heard.

TheBarber
December 4th 2014


2188 Comments


this tops it imo, might even top Godspeed oO
why can't this band just reappear one more time...

Digging: Ulver - Trolsk Sortmetall 1993-1997

PappyMason
December 4th 2014


1401 Comments


Whoa, I haven't heard this - I'll be checking it out.
Nice review man.

Little correction: do you mean roughly when you write 'worry for roughing 50 minutes' at the end of the first paragraph?

Digging: Cocteau Twins - Victorialand

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
December 4th 2014


11807 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yes corrected and thanks!

Absolutely check this out. I'm really surprised this doesn't have that many ratings actually.

Wadlez
December 4th 2014


4670 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice, this album will get some exposure.

PappyMason
December 4th 2014


1401 Comments


No worries man. Yeah, I will be checking this out.
Album cover looks awesome too!

TheBarber
December 4th 2014


2188 Comments


lovely review Mongi, totaly gonna follow the advice of the last paragraph tonight.
Also the vocals deserve mention here, fav in all post-rock. Soo soothing and full of emotions that even when saxophones go mad on Eyes & Smiles the echoes of the voice cast dreamy moonlight on top of them

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
December 4th 2014


11807 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks dude! And yea I did that the other night. There's a long woodsy area I drive through sometimes and man it's perfect. How appropriate the album cover is of the nighttime sky too.



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