Would it be fair to say that the RMR crew likes its Black Metal as dark and ominous as the morning coffee? Indeed so. Or even blacker, if that can be had. Traditional, no-nonsense pieces usually find sustenance in the bosom of the RMR crew’s blackened souls. Those that stem from the harsh beginnings of a genre that was and often still is accused of devil worship and worse. And sometimes rightfully so.1) Yet, we’re not looking to find a copy/paste of Burzum or Bathory. It’s bands that spew their wares in a way to generate that sense of unease. That urge to look over your shoulder – and expect to see the beast watching you with malicious glee. Congressus cum Daemone, as we sometimes like to say.
Enter the Brazilians from Patria. Their new album Hexerei (witchcraft in German) steps right into the old lore of 90’s Scandinavian Black Metal. But will it be able to stand up against a pretty formidable horde of opponents? Already 2022 whelped some pretty astonishing Extreme Metal pieces that truly are candidates for this year’s Top 10.
Now, the record wastes no time to make its roots known. Black Metal of the trve kind, somewhere in between Sidious and older Darkend, hits yer earphones right away. The excellent Worms of Light will attest to that, nicely backed up by the moving pictures in the video below. And that – at first – points to a frugal brand of Extreme Metal with only scarce injections of some melodic elements.
But then, Archetypes hits. That’s a ton of meaty mid-tempo doomy groove in a Black Metal piece. Pretty snazzy, and indeed the fillet piece of Hexerei right there. The track sounds like a cut-out from Rotting Christ’s playbook of wet dreams. And that’s a good thing, by the way.
So, as good vinyl architects must, Patria here presented us with an extremely strong A-side of their record. Succulent tidbits of metallic extremes will keep your frontal lobe in service for the better part of the 50-minute airtime. So, excellency abounds, yet this doesn’t quite bleed over into the second half of the piece. Now, make no mistake, you’ll still get an overdose of metallic atrocities.
But it’s more safe-side stuff, a bit like that canned food towards the back of the store that pretty much tastes the same whatever brand you choose. Albeit that second half contains much more of that elusive Melodic Black Metal thing that comes in from the dark. Unborn Spellcraft got a few rewinds, though. And the outro All Vices – of all tracks – really captured that meaty groove yet again, short as it may be. This one really hit all the buttons of a down-in-the-pit horror pie with ghostly whisperings galore. You know, words that may very well waft over to us from the netherworld. Yet, I never quite understood why the bonus track Viimne Väävlisõõm didn’t make it onto the main tracklist. That’s so full of Moonsorrow-ish theatrics, we almost placed Brazil next to Finland.
So, did Hexerei join the august Valhalla of top Black Metal pieces of the unholy year of the Dark Lord 2022? Well, the album’s inherent inconsistencies and the somewhat spotty tracklist didn’t quite allow for that. However, Patria sent us an extremely strong album. A piece of often frankly excellent ideas and a style of Black Metal that will rival the masters of the ’90s. All of that neatly wrapped in enough reasonably tasty melodics with enough red meat to please the minds of the modern metalheads. That’s the spirit, and we hope to see more of that from this band in the future.
Ed’s note: Want more? Check out the malevolent 2022 series!
|1.||Varg and ye other minions, the RMR crew is looking right at you.|