REVIEW: HEXIS – AETURNUM
Hexis offer an intriguing underground metal concoction and Aeternum is a stormy and punishingly bleak record that acts as a wrathful fusion for elements of hardcore, noisecore, black metal and ambient brutalism. On an elemental level, one might feel compelled to salute Hexis simply for the sheer passionate gravity which they invest into their sound. From the opener, Letum, it is for the duration of the album a remorseless affair of indefatigable rage and seething intensity. Hexis are a formidable unit who up the ante and keep it upped.
Unthreading the composite styles bound up in Aeternum, you can hear a confrontational hardcore element particularly in Filip Andersen’s possessed vocals which hop between gritty urban barks and combustible screamo. It is a delivery that gives Hexis a contemporary and street savvy dimension but also a caustic DIY Fight Club rawness. This contrasts to the band’s engine room which, at times verges on post-metal at its most savage and dissonant with huge sweeps of dystopian noise that give this a heady, towering sense of perspective. It is the black metal influence, though, that really gives this an ‘odds boost’ and a richer dynamic. Driving bleakness and rumbling tremolo generate an atmosphere of dread and foreboding. It is like an illegal backstreet MMA in a vast haunted industrial hanger.
A perennial risk of music this uncompromising, however, is that it can become indistinct and samey. It is a tough task, even for purists, to digest an entire album’s worth of unwavering viscid dissonance in one go. All too often ugly noise can become only that. In some ways Hexis find themselves in this predicament because the vicious and relentless scorn of Aeternum can numb the senses after a while.
The band do, however, take steps to mitigate this. For one thing, Aeternum has a sensible run-time of just over 40 minutes – though even that is the outer limits for music of this sort. There is, moreover, the utterly indominable brutish energy and angry passion that crackles throughout the record – the band just sound spoiling for a scrap. There is also some pacing too with the furious brevity of Inheritus and Tacet alternated with slower numbers like the seven-minute industrial sludge pain-fest of Exhaurire which has some cool haunting ambient samples or the comparative sparseness of Vulnera and its flickering shadows of Godflesh-esque despair. There is also some intelligent interplays and rhythms involved but they are pretty much submerged in the murk and spiteful viscosity. The twists and time changes have a muted black metal obscured iteration rather than a hardcore obviousness yet with the attitude of the latter. Consequently, it takes committed listens to fully appreciate the extent of the dynamics that Hexis package up. Your willingness to undertake that may determine whether Aeternum is a hunk of indistinct angry noise or an incendiary formidable sandblaster. Either way, Hexis are utterly savage.
Check out Hexis' music at their bandcamp here: https://hexisband.bandcamp.com