If you listened to Hexis’ demo tape released in 2011, you heard the sound of new band laying out their plans quite clearly with totally harsh and dissonant hardcore injected with the rawest of black metal.
Granted, French blackened hardcore outfit Celeste had beaten them to the punch but the Danish band had their own identity to a point, despite the obvious similarities. Since the fierce demo was released, Hexis have released a number of EPs, splits and re-recordings as well as plenty of touring, where gigs consist of eye searing strobe lighting. Now, they finally have an LP to their name in the shape of Abalam.
Most tellingly is that Hexis have abandoned about 80 or 90% of their hardcore tendencies and while this is anything but an orthodox or traditional black metal album, it’s much closer to the BM side of their scale.
With that said, the album is still ridden with the band’s trademarks and is immediately identifiable as Hexis. The band’s song titles have always been in Latin and given off this distinctly religious feel, though not necessarily an anti-religious vibe, more like the soundtracking of an exorcism, with Abalam referring to an occult demon.
Maintaining a great deal of the band’s grit, they’ve also opted for a (very slightly) cleaner production job that allows the songs a little more room to breathe. As a result, it somewhat lacks the claustrophobic feel and altogether more caustic and cacophonous sound that their earlier material had. Abalam certainly isn’t glossy or sterile in its production but it isn’t as unrelenting and unforgiving as we would expect.
With all that said, Hexis have gone a little more ambitious in the song writing, which is a major evolution you will notice on Abalam. Typically the band’s previous records have been brief and even live sets have been a mere 20 minutes.
Abalam clocks in at 35 minutes, short by most standards but with a band like Hexis it’s a bit of an endurance test and there are a few fatty tracks could have done with the chop. But for a debut full-length, Abalam is solid enough and, if anything, encouraging when it comes to new material in the future.