Sutekh Hexen / Hissing
Sutekh Hexen / Hissing


3.0
good

Review

by Tristan Jones STAFF
October 7th, 2017 | 9 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Shade of a shadow in the glass

I’d like to think that I’m not alone in the following (probably not; I’m nobody too special): there are landmark books, albums, or movies that serve as watershed moments for one’s artistic appreciation, to the effect of seeing them everywhere, trying to trace backwards, like red string on a murder board. In my case, it's Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, Inferno in particular. Sutekh Hexen’s split with Hissing summons this comparison organically, probably accidentally. (The press release made no mention of concepts therein.) Sutekh Hexen’s brand of black noise is a stone’s throw from the netherrealms of metal, like black ambient with harrowing noise. It’s not exactly rare for black metal and its derivatives to flirt with the occult, but Sutekh Hexen’s approach is unique in how it feels less like an exalting narrative, and more like actual documentation.

At times, I’d be inclined to believe Kevin Gan Yuen and co. intercepted audio signals from the lowest five circles of hell, and layered them accordingly to construct “Pareidolian". Wrath, heresy, violence, fraud, treachery: they all seem present in some form, granting a happenstance peek into both the landscape and psychology of those who reside. I don’t mean to say that Sutekh Hexen provide a turgid, sp00ky rendition of things. There is a lot to unpack, and at times if feels like several stories unfurling at once, running helter skelter in the wind and sleet. The uppermost layer is a ghastly mourning. In opposition, the lowest layers rumble like a cataclysm, devoid of anthropocentric sorrow, for this is where the damned no longer cry for their humanity. “Pareidolian” manages to be both telescopic and clinical: it views hell both from afar and in the tangles of the psyche, but rarely anywhere in between.

Hissing’s contribution in “Deserted Veins” is more akin to blackened death metal physicality, less on the outskirts, more in the throes. It’s less cerebral than “Pareidolian”, but still feasts on the same fodder. Disappointingly, much of “Deserted Veins” feels like productional flourish. The rapid static pulses, industrial clang, dark ambient passages, etc., that comprise much of the midsection all feel like exercises in futility. Compositionally, the best moments are the bookends, with beckons to Incantation (I hear a hint of Diabolical Conquest, I dunno) and even Portal. Guitars soar like an aerial assault, then nosedive into the muck and murk, while the drums feel ritualistic in their dripping fervour. As with “Pareidolian”, there is plenty to dig through. Painting a free-flowing, panoramic bedlam of death metal and sludge is ambitious, and a bit interesting in and of itself, but it feels less rewarding than Sutekh Hexen’s oeuvre, conceptually.

It’s possible that I return to the Inferno comparison as a combination of 1) it being a watershed thing, as that was the first narrative poem - and the first piece of literature pertaining to the afterlife that wasn’t the Bible - I can recall reading, and 2) I’m not sure what else to do with this 12” split. There’s something humble in these collaborative efforts, as neither band is wholly afforded the means to grandstand their vision, so I’m inclined to wax allegoric and do it for them. Arguably, the greatest success here is how both bands, despite noises cacophonous and multidimensional, sheen a surface that bears reflections. As for what congeals on the other side of the mirror - that’s on you.




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user ratings (5)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
October 7th 2017


6373 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

https://sutekhhexen.bandcamp.com/album/sutekh-hexen-hissing

hal1ax
October 7th 2017


9237 Comments


This sounds like something I’d like
Killer review man

brainmelter
October 7th 2017


4580 Comments


nice review. And yeah this sounds dope, will definitely check

Digging: Options - Driftwood Metaphor

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
October 7th 2017


6373 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

the second half is... not gr8 overall but imo you're missing out w/ the first

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
October 8th 2017


10179 Comments


looks cool will give this a listen

Nomos
October 9th 2017


1541 Comments


Not a fan of the genre, but I have to give credit to that album art. It's so beautiful and oppressive.

Hawks
October 12th 2017


51983 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Damn this sucks hard.

Digging: Gamma Ray - Land of the Free

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
October 12th 2017


6373 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

idk if it's ... for your ears. me not being a huge metal fan, and more of a field recording / drone / etc. kinda guy, might work in my favour as far as enjoying it. this is def the kinda thing metalheads would probably hate in general

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
October 12th 2017


6373 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

yeah that tape is on my radar, might have a go



and yeah maybe hissing has an ~in~ since the one guy is brothers w/ the O'Malley from Sunn O))), tho maybe it's unfair to assume that's the case. but yeah would've been gr8 to see Wold or someone comparable on board



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