Saturday, April 28, 2012

HeXeN-Being And Nothingness

HeXeN is one of those bands who probably will evolve, and have evolved into a more progressive/technical band. After all, their melodic debut album was just pure creativity and genius thrashing combined, and well, this record definitely opens the gate to a new sound for HeXeN. The modern thrash masterpiece ''A State Of Insurgency'' was fast, vicious and ridiculously catchy, and thus, it was flourished with technical proficiency and melodic riffage, making it a very inventive thrash record compared to the hordes of bullshit that had just started rising during that time. I awaited the arrival of ''Being And Nothingness'' wide eyed, and now that I have it, I can safely say it definitely was an unexpected experience for me. Just as many other people were, I expected something in the vein of its predecessor, but ''Being And Nothingness'' was an even more polished effort, escalating towards more progressive territory than HeXeN had ever done.

I'm not going to surprised if most of the people who gave the album a listen won't be completely satisfied with what they heard, because ''Being And Nothingness'' exhales most of the fresh thrashing energy that pumped listeners up on the previous record, and replaces that with a a turbulent assault of melody, and perplexing technical twists, endlessly hopping on the plain thrash metal band wagon. I don't know whether that's a convenient thing to do or not, but I'm sure many purists will be forced to abandon the record in reckless hate against melody, and all things technical. Of course there are other elements on the album which makes it a peculiar effort, such as the common usage of distorted arpeggios and acoustic interludes, as well as diverse melodies constantly entering the mood laden thrash incursions, slowly, ambiguously mangling and twisting the straightforward thrash sound into something much different.

One very interesting thing about the album is that it tends to wrap itself in a thin cloak of black metal every once in a while. ''Grave New World'' burst open with vigorous melodies, and it introduced some black metal-esque arpeggios and some chaotic chord sequences, and even though I noticed this right after it showed itself, but I didn't really think that the whole album would have similar attributes, so I just simply pushed it aside and focused on the music. Shame on me. The vague black metal influence started showing even more explicitly on the track ''Private Hell'', where HeXeN combined technical and catchy riffs with obvious, chaotic chord pickings, and the result was quite queer indeed. Nonetheless, one should also be informed that there are aspects here besides the guitars, and these add quite a bit of spunk to the music. Carlos Cruz is no less a beast then he was on ''A State Of Insurgency'', and the vocal style of Andre Hartoonian has differed as well, and now it's obvious that he has also been affected by black metal as he tends go more guttural and raspier than before.

I honestly don't agree with purists who think that the catchiness isn't here as it was on the previous album, because there're definitely heaps of catchy riffs on this album, even though they may have been slightly mutated by the technical elements that surround the music. The crushing thrash energy is still there, maybe a little obscured but still existent, this time garnished even further with peculiar influences. However, it's true that the album may tend to get a little too melodic at times, which may cause it to loose its effectiveness. I was quite fond with my results, but I hope HeXeN don't turn even more technical and proggy on the next record, because many won't be pleased with such a thing. HeXeN needs to attain a sound that feels like the crossover of the sophomore and the debut, so that they will please both guitar nerds and thrash purists.

Private Hell
Defcon Rising
 The Nescient
Indefinite Archetype 

Rating: 85%

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