The Hirsch Effekt
Urian


4.8
classic

Review

by Mitch Worden EMERITUS
October 4th, 2023 | 121 replies


Release Date: 09/29/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The revival after the collapse.

There’s a surprising cohesion to an album like Holon: Agnosie. It’s akin to a film where every scene is scattered out of order: angular mathcore riffs, poppy alternative rock, winding progressive metal, synth-laden soundscapes, and classical passages cycle in and out of view, seemingly disorganized yet always coalescing into a discernible whole. The Hirsch Effekt are practically infamous at this point for unabashedly stocking as many elements as possible into their chameleon-like style, deftly navigating this mess of moments with incomparable precision. Kollaps was a baffling release in that context; it was distressingly linear while giving the impression of a silly, disorganized film that was now too ham-fisted for its own good. Consider the collective’s latest album Urian a retcon; absolutely nothing remains from the group’s prior LP, replaced instead by a familiar mess of moments that are somehow cobbled into a cohesive whole. The Hirsch Effekt are unquestionably back to full strength on their sixth full-length, and as the near-hour-long record unravels, one thing becomes clear: they’re f*cking pissed.

That newfound anger manifests into a direction that, while maintaining traditional Hirsch hallmarks--addicting refrains, Dillinger-esque frantic instrumentation balanced by emotive atmospheric sections, ample classical influence--ushers the band’s sound into a novel arena. Much of this is evident from opener “Agora,” which sees the group delve into folk-like acoustics and string accompaniments. Contrary to prior Hirsch releases, producer Jens Bogren applies a mix that allows clutter to inhabit empty spaces. Plucked guitars reverberate endlessly, generating an echoing ambiance that swirls around arrangements--a feeling enhanced by the tremolo-laden environment of “Otus,” where melodies drift ghost-like through the tune’s various progressions--and when the collective opts to unleash total pandemonium, their compositions become suffocating in their intensity. Stray keys and an eerie cello decorate the background, enhancing the uneasy calm and clashing against the disc’s darker tracks similarly to how Rolo Tomassi incorporate electronics. The result is an unsettling aura in the vein of Follow the White Rabbit’s Endorphinia, where unforeseen horrors always seem to be lurking nearby.

It’s no exaggeration to state that The Hirsch Effekt proceed to lay down their most fearsome songs to date on top of this foundation. Once “Otus” finalizes its beautiful odyssey, the gloves come off on “2054”--a blistering mathcore titan that wildly charges through innumerable tempo shifts and contorts time signatures on a whim. Bass grooves, once a spellbinding portal into warped dimensions, are now wielded like a warhammer, with cacophonous riffing and an unhinged percussion kit augmenting the visceral assault. Discordant chugs and spiraling guitar passages conquer the scene, causing the tune to become a whirlwind of entrancing dissonance, with the fury reaching an apex in a pummeling breakdown that practically tears the earth in two. The delirium accelerates into the title track, launching through shrieking riffs while the maddening pace of the drumming performance seemingly increases, and it surges once more when the intimidating “Blud” tears through a brief peace. Chilling piano notes and distant orchestral movements enhance the atmosphere while a monstrous vocal performance--a volatile combo of screams, shouts, and polished tenor singing--rises above the destruction. Beyond the aforementioned song’s bombastic refrain, melody is scarce here; an unadulterated rage swallows it up, leaving only a monolithic wall of imposing heaviness.

The contrast between these terrifying eruptions of frenetic instrumentation and gentle, haunting atmospheric ventures allows Urian to rekindle the band’s knack for album flow. A disorganized-yet-simultaneously-organized film develops; the uncompromising metalcore technicality of “2054” and “Urian” swiftly declines into the delicately reserved strumming of “Stegodon,” pushing vocal hooks to the forefront at the behest of an artfully understated crescendo, and the succeeding “Granica” provides a tranquil respite, deconstructing the group’s sound into graceful instrumental swells that spotlight poignant clean vocals. Urian is replete with these built-in payoffs, allowing tunes to architect their own progressions while establishing the groundwork for what follows, which additionally preserves a thrilling sense of constant motion. Soothing chords and erratic outbursts coexist, making instances of quiet more profound and the violence that destroys it all the more deadly. It’s an idyllic symbiosis--one The Hirsch Effekt have perfected, and it makes their compositions feel immensely purposeful.

In the wake of Kollaps and the doubts it introduced, Urian is a hell of a comeback statement. It’s as gloriously jagged, caustic, and complex as the bulk of the band’s material, and while it certainly retains a sense of familiarity--the collective’s progressive metal bedrock remains their eternal calling card--it’s undeniably fresh in its own foreboding manner. The sheer ruthlessness that can emerge within the record’s unpredictable soundscapes is awe-inspiring and uniquely terrifying, and the inclusion of folk-esque contributions establishes an ethereal, yet ultimately intimidating atmosphere whose cautious timbres disguise a lurking unease. Implementing such profound changes speaks to the vitality of a trio nearing two decades of existence; even with the prime Holon years in the rearview, The Hirsch Effekt are still inimitable in the realm of all things progressive. When their disheveled, lovingly-haphazard moments start to click, the resulting experience is unforgettable.




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Comments:Add a Comment 
MarsKid
Emeritus
October 4th 2023


21035 Comments

Album Rating: 4.8 | Sound Off

Comeback of the year? It's no contest. This album's made me irrationally happy lately and I'm vibing it up.



Bandcamp link: https://thehirscheffekt.bandcamp.com/album/urian



Album also available on Spotify. I have no Apple Music jokes outside of Apple Music itself. Hey, I try my best most days!



Let me know what y'all think!

5secondsofsummerfan
October 4th 2023


104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review! I'm really enjoying this one so far

Hawks
October 4th 2023


87966 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Sweet review but this fucking blowz lmao.

kalkwiese
October 4th 2023


10443 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nah Hawks, you're wrong this time

Hawks
October 4th 2023


87966 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Wish I was bro.

bellovddd
October 4th 2023


5947 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album slaps

MarsKid
Emeritus
October 4th 2023


21035 Comments

Album Rating: 4.8 | Sound Off

In all things Hirsch, I refer to kalkwiese lol, the OG themselves

kalkwiese
October 4th 2023


10443 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hehe, how did I get this title? I like it by the way

MarsKid
Emeritus
October 4th 2023


21035 Comments

Album Rating: 4.8 | Sound Off

I figure either you or Achelerion are the most tenured Hirsch lads here, I thiiink it's you so that's gotta be worth something right?

Zac124
October 4th 2023


2706 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

This completely destroys Kollaps. Absolutely loving 2054, Urian and the closer at the moment. AOTY for me atm easily.

kalkwiese
October 4th 2023


10443 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I always defended Kollaps, but it's clearly weaker than the others and I can't deny it. This blows Kollaps out of the water.

I was worried initially, because Otus was so drawnout and uneventful, but it works well in the context of the album and there is enough brutality here to keep me engaged.



@Mars: That could be true. I fell in love with this band regard them similarly to Sigur Ros or Avantasia: they're a gift to music in general. Sounds kitschy, but I really mean it. They do high quality and they do it consistently

MarsKid
Emeritus
October 4th 2023


21035 Comments

Album Rating: 4.8 | Sound Off

Yeah no when these guys are on, they are ON. Not many others compare.



Kollaps definitely had me worried about future projects, but "Otus" drew me in and then "2054" was just a fucking uppercut. Absolute insanity.

Ectier
October 5th 2023


2619 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This sounds interesting

MarsKid
Emeritus
October 5th 2023


21035 Comments

Album Rating: 4.8 | Sound Off

It's a journey, highly recommend.

ramon.
October 5th 2023


4185 Comments


title track feels like xerath on crack, might need to peep, great review

Pikazilla
October 5th 2023


29778 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

much better than kollaps and eskapist

MarsKid
Emeritus
October 5th 2023


21035 Comments

Album Rating: 4.8 | Sound Off

omg Ramon sighting, I'm absolutely blessed! Thank you for coming, glad you liked the review :^)



And yeah Kollaps hardly exists compared to this.

ramon.
October 5th 2023


4185 Comments


gotta swing by mars town and show the brother some love, thanks for pointing me to this one! had no clue they were still making stuff haha, enjoying what i've jammed so far

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
October 5th 2023


18257 Comments


Is this Yellowcard for Tool fans?

SteakByrnes
October 5th 2023


29827 Comments


is this a pog champion moment



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