Metal Review – Sutekh Hexen: Become

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Metal Review – Sutekh Hexen: Become
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Sutekh Hexen: Become
Ambience, Noise, Raw Black Metal
Auris Apothecary
October 31st, 2012
Release length: 29:48
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Oakland, California’s Sutekh Hexen has kept themselves incredibly busy since their second full-length, Larvae, released in 2012. Not long after, the follow-up album Behind the Throne was issued and met with mild reception, a viewpoint that continued to spiral downhill afterwards with the exception of their 2012 compilation Empyräisch. Wrapping up the year, and to start 2013 off, the band issued three more EPs, all of which found far more negative criticism than warm view points. The worst, however, was the first of that batch, Become. With word of how wretched this cassette and digital download was circulating through my personal Facebook account, I bit the bullet and hit the download button. But was I greeted with the worst the band has to offer yet, or was this a surprisingly pleasant experience?

Much like the band’s previous outings, or anything issued from Havohej, Sutekh Hexen bring a very raw audio quality to the table that leaves everything largely up to interpretation. This time, however, there is a push towards Noise that compliments the Ambience in both a nightmarish and isolated manner. This is thanks to how pushed back in the mix the muffled music is, all the while loud, almost digital sounding wind whips across the cold plateu, hiding the signs of life within the barren, frostbitten aural plains.

If you can look beyond the chill that whips across your eardrums like that of razors on “Five Faces of Decay,” you’ll find hidden far from one’s own grasp a catchy Black Metal performance with blunt guitar distortions. The deeper into the song you get, the closer you come to the source of the performance which, sadly, becomes its own mirage, fading away to screaming voices lost within those very gusts that continue to grow louder and more nightmarish. As you enter the literal eye of this storm, the music itself gives way to low, pulsating notes that undulate against the altered sounding nightmarish rasps, leaving you with the sensation you have stumbled upon an ancient ritual that is nearing its successful conclusion. Quickly you bare witness to the being the once distant chanting and music awoke with a flurry of thunder, otherworldly noises not meant for human ears, and what sounds like a bass guitar rhythm or drum beat that mimicks the being’s pulsing heart as the horrible imagery slowly fades from sight, but lingers within your short-term memory.

“The Voice : The Void” starts off in a manner that can be taken in a couple directions. Again the music and vocals are incredibly muffled, but both weave a truly creepy atmosphere, as if walking through the start of your own nightmare in a hazy abyss of loneliness, or perhaps astral projecting yourself into the astral nethers in pursuit of the Ancient Ones. The echoed screaming against ominous chords that are oddly soothing as you make your climb into the cosmos towards the firey embers of their home, or even perhaps the bowels of hell from passing in one’s own sleep, bringing that burdening world of falseties crashing down around you upon being greeted with your own eternal damnation. Your punishment? To walk among the snow covered plateau of “Five Faces of Decay” once more, only to never find the altar again unless you go through aBecome once more.

While Become manages to paint a truly nightmarish world that even the likes of H.P. Lovecraft would greatly appreciate, the fact they resorted to the first half of “Five Faces of Decay” half way through “The Voice : The Void” and focused on it for so long felt more like poor composition, not to mention the conflicting start to that second track that seems to wildly contradict what you inevitably return to. Sutekh Hexen continue to prove they truly are a group for a highly niche market, and if you enter in with an open mind with all the lights off and a cold chill in the air (or at least your air conditioner cranked, preferably blowing right on you) it’s easy to imagine yourself in the blizzard the group easily conveys most of the time.

But, ultimately, this is a far more subjective offering. Like always with Sutekh Hexen, the impact of how the Ambience laced Black Metal hits you is largely dependent on how you perceive the final product. Become is still available on Bandcamp as a “name your price” download so you can sample it before you lay any money down for the cassette version. So, if you’re a fan of Ambience and are willing to put your imagination to work, there’s no reason to not test the waters of Become and allow the darkest depths of your soul to paint along a vivid portrait of Hellish intents that’s a bit too quick to repeat itself.

01. Five Faces of Decay – 15:00
02. The Voice : The Void – 14:48
Initial Pressing Score: 6.5/10

Sutekh Hexen
Sutekh Hexen

Digital review copy of this release provided by personal funds.