Label: Self Released
Genre: Black Metal
Release Date: October 10th, 2018
Hexeth is one of the many projects of Count Bergaby (Olivier Bérubé Émond), and this is the fourth release in a very short time. In roughly the same span of time, he is also releasing music under Shezmu, Pénombre, Warslaves, Palmistry, Complot!, and Sadomagickal Seducer; I’m pretty sure he doesn’t sleep, because he also started Alchemy Lab Records while already juggling more than most. Multiverse was released on October 10th, and follows two splits with Void Tendril and Icon of Curse respectively, as well as another EP. Hexeth began life on the self-titled EP as a lo-fi black/death monstrosity buried in murk and clouded production, but greatly rewarding for those willing and able to keep their torch lit in the suffocating atmosphere.
I discovered Hexeth around the release of the first EP through Shezmu’s Bandcamp. Shezmu announced CB had two other projects that were up and coming, Pénombre (lo-fi and raw black metal) and our subject which was a solo outing; the latter really captured my imagination with the sci-fi story backdrop, and the interesting subterranean-sounding combination of raw black metal with black/death chaos. The story is shrouded in esoteric and delicately chosen prose; centering around the Hexeth, a creature from another world/dimension that is trying to get home while being pursued by the Observer. This concept is slowly unfolding across the multiple releases, each song is a passage and each release is a chapter, to be collected ultimately as one album.
Multiverse is the latest release, and if you have been following along from the beginning you will instantly notice a return to the muffled production like that of the first release. The two split releases had a much less overbearing production, and instead seemed to adopt an atmosphere of the music being received through a tear in reality, wavering in and out of focus. Some, fans of raw black metal especially, will rejoice in the distant, intentionally imperfect reverb-drenched walls of this short release. The biggest critique I have lies right here, the production on the splits lent itself to the music in a way that didn’t hinder enjoyment. Muffling the individual notes to such an extent harms what is a great piece of music, and it seems to go even further obscuring the artistry than the initial release did. However, in keeping with the first EP, if you are patient, and willing to turn it up loud, you will be rewarded with a dark and dissonant movement of extreme metal.
Sung in an invented language, there are no lyrics to speak of as yet, so instead I’d like to focus solely on the vocal performance. A variety of howls, growls, and shrieks are employed to convey the Hexeth’s terrible journey; fittingly inhuman and well-placed dying howls also inhabit the backdrop sporadically. Most commonly using a bestial black/death roar that would thoroughly obscure all discernible lyrics if there were any. The vocal delivery, blended with the atmosphere of the production match up well with the off-kilter music of CB’s solo project.
Jangly guitars open Subsequent Growth before moving into angular, but more standard riffing. This is indicative of the whole of the guitar performance across all the releases, but seems to be coming to a head on this EP. Unusual melodies repeat, scratching the inside of your skull in a way that only another dose will cure; anxiety and malaise spin effortlessly from the strings to gently erode your sanity. Mostly foundational, but occasionally taken to more experimental heights; panicked, urgent, and tireless, the drums pound creating a feeling that the very ground is shifting beneath your feet.
Hexeth has come forth with three more songs to add to an impressive, and rapidly growing, discography. The soundscapes crafted here cultivate a deep sense of restlessness and dread that will resonate with you long past the short run time. Multiverse is a great release, with my only gripe being the production; with good headphones or sound system, and the volume cranked, you’ll hear a talented musician with a story to tell.
1. Subsequent Growth
2. Master! I Submit Myself To Thy Will
3. Secretory Pulsar
Total Playing Time: 13:05