Hexis: Abalam

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Hexis: Abalam
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Hexis: Abalam
Black Metal, Grindcore, Hardcore
Halo of Flies Records
January 11th, 2014
Release length: 35:00
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Hexis is a Black Metal/Hardcore group that hails from Coppenhagen, Denmark. This five-piece entity came to be in 2010, and since then has been churning out releases left and right, but lately has been on a decline. 2011 not only saw their debut self-titled demo recording, but their XI EP, and a split between As We Draw and Euglena. 2012 saw two more EPs, and the next year marked another split, this time with the band Redwood Hill. With the smaller releases dwindling, Halo of Flies Records picked up this entity to unleash their first full-length effort, Abalam. But is this a surprisingly aggressive twist on this genre, or is this the furthest thing from inspiring or unique?

“Faciem” kicks things off with distant sharp sounding distortions that grow louder as time goes on, introducing some distant rasps half way through. It’s an extensive introduction that sets up the tone of the album well enough, but fails to spark any sort of interest, ending up an incredibly boring, drawn out start that leaves you itchy to skip to “Tenebris” shortly after it starts. What sounds like razors drawing closer before gives way to rather dull riffs and a thin overall audio quality the crisp drums and booming bass kicks sound awkward against. The faster passages and strong blackened riffs at the start immediately hook you, but once the vocals kick in thirty seconds later, the pace slows down, the strong leads pretty much vanish outside a minute and a half in for a few seconds, and the clashing audio removes nearly all the bite, making the performance itself incredibly bland despite the amount of enthusiasm the band is obviously putting forward. Sadly, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Despite the many faults, Abalam does hurl a few strong shorter tracks your way. “Exanimis” lashes out the Black Metal with more of a Grindcore fury that is commendable. The stronger blackened leads are felt through most of the song, though dulled by the drums that still drown them out quite a lot. The breakdowns, however, find a far more blunt intensity that stands out well enough to make you want to break into a violent mosh. “Sequax” has a truly punishing start, which emerges again throughout the song, most of the time only being built up by an increase in the bass kicks that make the incredibly eerie leads all the more unsettling, as well as recognizable.

When Hexis does actually break the three minute mark, good things usually happen. “Exhausit” is allowed time to grow from the start, having the typical strong introduction, and the rest takes its time to develop. A little over a minute finds an extensive bridge that pushes the bass guitar forward with a burdening sensation, and the main verses have a violent streak that doesn’t resort immediately to blast beats to drown out the riffs. The shift into the breakdown at the end is subtle and works perfectly with the performance as well. “Immolabant” is the most memorable of the longer tracks thanks to the near two-minute instrumental build up that allows the rest of the song to be epic to the point of making all those listening feel unworthy. Unfortunately, “Neglexerunt” and “Inferis” do end up the exceptions to the rule. While both flesh out the longest experiences of the album, the first expands the length with feedback and filler, while the latter just sounds like a typical Doom Metal performance that you’ll forget shortly after hearing.

Most of Abalam sounds like undeveloped Black Metal songs with breakdowns thrown in for good measure. Most of the time it even seems to follow a pattern of impressive Black Metal hooks with rich sound for the intro, blistering unrestrained rage that has little to make it recognizable from the next or last song, a slow breakdown that takes advantage of the deeper bass kicks, repeat. There’s a great deal of hostility as well, but it sounds restrained due to the raw and clashing audio levels, making everything not only sound the same, but sometimes just come out a giant mess. Abalam is the definition of the “Louder is better” mentality, often sounding as if Hexis is trying to emulate Anaal Nathrakh and substituting anything memorable with loud noises, failing to work on so many levels. With only a handful of kick ass songs that don’t sound the same or seem to follow a pattern, and even fewer than that being at all memorable, Abalam is just a headache enducing experience that could have been great, but instead ends up not being worth your time.

01. Faciem – 2:05
02. Tenebris – 2:28
03. Exanimis – 1:35
04. Sequax – 2:21
05. Desolatum – 1:22
06. Supplex – 1:03
07. Abalam – 2:24
08. Timor – 0:53
09. Exhausit – 3:12
10. Immolabant – 3:25
11. Exterminati – 1:30
12. Neglexerunt – 3:56
13. Inferis – 8:57
Initial Pressing Score: 2/10

Hexis
Hexis

Digital review copy of this release provided by Halo of Flies Records via The Black Birch.