Friday, January 8, 2016
Hexvessel : "When We Are Death"
This is way more rock n roll than I thought it would, but this band is fronted by Mat McNerney who we also know as Kvohst the lead singer of Grave Pleasures / Beast Milk. This album finds this project now occupying a more similar sonic space as Grave Pleasures , just dipping into a another decade . So perhaps Kvohst is a time lord and he hops back and forth from the 80s to the 60s collecting melodie. The folk has been dialed way back on the opener. This eases back into a mellower psychedelic trip on the second song, but the rock element are still dominate over the folk, which is not a complaint, perhaps if you are really invested in these guys being a neo-folk then it might need more time to grow on you , but the songs really handle the slightly morose melodies well. This is not totally happy hippy music that is just the undercurrent. It is totally groovy, but a lava lamp is not a requirement.Then things really ease back for "Cosmic Truth" that has more of a Moody Blues feel. There is more of a straight up 60's rock feel to "When I'm Dead" .
They take on a more folk tone for "Mirror Boy" which is a more morse song, with a very haunting melody.The vocals are very passionate. Things take on a more tripped out rumble with " Drugged Up On the Universe" the guitar carries a slight prog slant to it and the keys lay the atmosphere on sick, the vocals follow more of a Hawkwind like pattern and are not as centered on the sort of melodies present for the bulk of the album. This is a heavier song than what has been presented thus far , so it compensates for the lack of focus. There is a blues soaked groove to the dusk tinged swagger of "Teeth of the Mountain". I would speculate that "Green Gold" is about smoking pot, the lyrics try to point in another direction. Mcnerney sounds like Brendan Perry on this one and the lazy guitar melody gives a surreal backdrop to what is an other wise straight forward affair. The drugs must have really kicked in on "Mushroom Spirit Doors" aside from the Beatles like chorus, the riff is angular and the song is a little off in its center of gravity.The drums offer up a more primal pound to summon their tribe of shaman on " Hunter's Prayer". The music sits in a more minimalist fashion behind the vocals than the majority of the songs, giving the song a similar feel to "Spanish Caravan" .
They close up the album with more psyche rock minded "Shaman You". The vocals are stronger here than the previous two songs and this one is darker than what you might expect from something with such strong 60s influence. A band like Bloodrock might be a good reference point here. With the more surreal swirl this songs comes with also brings less focus to the middle section, but the skeleton of the song is pretty solid and it returns to the more hook oriented chant of 'you are a false magician".I'll give this one a 9.5 and see how it sits on me Kvohst's performance is stellar as usual.