by Scheumke USER (21 Reviews)
April 23rd, 2020 | 6 replies

Release Date: 04/17/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: So magical.. so mystical.. and damned

The British vocalist Mat McNerney moved to Norway years ago to gorge himself on the wild untamed nature and the heavy Scandinavian music scene. He later moved on to Finland, where he started the (not so heavy) psychedelic/folk band Hexvessel. Last year’s All Tree was an ode to nature, yet with their new release Kindred, Hexvessel have expanded their repertoire with an assembly of songs covering a lot more musical ground than its predecessor.

Even though I have certain issues with Kindred (more on that later), I have to say that it is a collection of very interesting songs that are easy to get into. The melodies grab the attention and the songs are varied, from the slow brooding and dreamy Bog Bodies to the slightly unhinging ‘but I have to sway my head to it’ Kindred Moon. Every song is going for its own atmosphere and the band manages to convey all these different soundscapes very eloquently, without turning the whole thing into a scrambled collection of ideas. This is quite a feat, seeing as these are short songs and very to the point in their delivery. There are no needlessly winding passages of instrumental meandering slowly laying down an atmosphere. Instead, there is a directness in songwriting that delivers the goods straight in your face. They manage to keep cohesion mainly by having the delivery of every song be somewhere between being melancholy and being outright occult. This constant in vibe makes for a coherent album that varies enough in tone to forgive its variation in tempo.

With which we come to my main problem with Kindred. The tempo is consistently low. This by itself is not a problem per se, where it not that the first song, Billion Year Old Being, gives a completely false first impression on what to expect from the rest of the album. By far the most interesting and energetic song, it gives the impression that Kindred is going in the direction of later era Opeth. It quickly becomes prevalent that this is not the case, with the next three songs going slower and slower. By the time Bog Bodies comes around, we are in complete Twin Peaks mystery territory. From there it never really picks the tempo back up, which I can’t help but feel is a missed opportunity.

Yet from that point on Kindred refuses to become boring by using a plethora of different instruments and moods. Leadsingle Phaedra for example, takes a turn for the sinister, with the vocals going darker and more foreboding than before. It has an outlaw country vibe that, strangely, fits perfectly on this record. Even though it is too short for my liking and could have benefitted from a clearer theme to fall back on, it’s interesting and different enough to keep the attention. All of the songs on Kindred have something like this to differentiate them from each other, making for an interesting if somewhat uneven listen.

Recent reviews by this author
Caligula's Horse Rise RadiantEnvy The Fallen Crimson
Alcest Spiritual InstinctCult of Luna A Dawn to Fear
Moron Police Boat on the SeaHoly Holy My Own Pool of Light
user ratings (20)

Comments:Add a Comment 
April 23rd 2020


Album Rating: 3.5

Forced myself to keep it as short as I possibly could without losing too much of the meat. Might be too brief I don't know yet. Quite liking this one, sits at a 3.7 ish. Feedback welcome as always.

Digging: Boss Keloid - Family the Smiling Thrush

Staff Reviewer
April 23rd 2020


Really liked No Holier Temple but then found When We Are Death painfully average and never check anything else by these guys. Nice review.

Digging: Johnny Winter - 3rd Degree

Staff Reviewer
April 23rd 2020


Album Rating: 3.0

That first track is a bit of a speed bump.

Digging: Diskord - Degenerations

Staff Reviewer
April 23rd 2020


I don't think I've ever heard this band before, but from what I read it must have an interesting relaxing mood.

Nice review Scheumke. Pos'd

Digging: Helloween - Helloween

April 24th 2020


Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah I really enjoyed it more than I thought I would at first listen. It stays interesting and short enough to keep me coming back to it.

April 26th 2020


Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review. This is my favorite record of the year so far. Nice stylistic combo of the sounds we heard on "Dawnbearer" and "When We Are Death" (Or at least that's how I interpreted it).

You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile


Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Site Copyright 2005-2019 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy