One of the brightest flames in European industrial metal in the past couple of years has come in the muscular shape of German band Diehard. They easily marked themselves as a band destined to have a say on the future of the genre with their album When Illusions Gone, an acclaimed release whose tracks found eager attention and airplay with the likes of The Reputation Radio Show. Comprising of Alexander Morte (Vocals/guitar) and Vic Torys (keys) the band has been quiet over recent months though Morte is always a perpetually creating storm as shown by the recent release of the debut EP from his excellent electrocore project Red Code: Revolution. The reason for the apparent step back into the shadows for the band has now come to light with the outstanding and impressive New Aeon EP from Era Hex.
Era Hex is the evolution of Diehard. It is not a band spawn from the ashes of its predecessor as Diehard did not die but the natural and impressive progression. Morte and Torys return with a heightened brew of their dark industrial sound, a fresh corrupting blend of death metal and electronic blood distilled in a symphonic air. The music still has that sharp consuming industrial air but it has grown and matured into its own unique hungry entity and one has to say it is something rather special as declared by New Aeon. Whilst still Diehard the duo added drummer Sascha ‘Quazar’ Pratnekar (ex-Deathronation, Necropsy) to their ranks and it was as the trio started writing songs and the realization that something new was emerging that the band changed their name to Era Hex. Soon after the threesome became four when bassist Jochen (Svarta Faran) was recruited and the band found its whole.
The EP is made up of three hungry and stirring tracks rippling with invention and imagination without losing the power and intensity they are known for. The music it has to be said is strikingly elevated in quality to what came before and it was pretty mighty then. The opening track Era Hex gives immediate proof to that thought with its twisting crisp striding riffs bursting through the ear off of an initial atmospheric symphonic air. The production is cleaner than previous releases from the older incarnation of the band which allows the adventurous electronic aspects to erupt and light up the death march of intensity and blackened guitar work much more and to great effect. Vocally the delivery is a mix of death and black metal interplay full of malevolence from the darkest heart and is at times contrasted magnificently by the symphonic caresses from the voice of Torys. The overall effect is a song which leaves one enthralled and eager for more.
Off to a great start the release soon backs it up with the manipulative and sinister title track. With the vocals brewing a storm of spite and venom within a weave of warm synth conjuration the song intrigues the senses with incendiary sonics and waspish riffs which squeeze the synapses tighter and tighter as they prey upon the ear. The song evolves throughout adding more and more textures to its weight including a mesmeric Eastern flavouring to its blackened and scorched melodic breath whilst the intensity lies heavier and more firmly upon the senses.
The release is completed by Till The End, its herald on epic sounding chimes the lead into a majestic melodic atmosphere speared with predatory riffs and hypnotic intrusive rhythms from Pratnekar. As the track crawls permeates every corner it infiltrates the ear with scurrying sonics which whip skin and synapses with relish to bring an extra persistent and niggling treat within the corruption of malevolence. The song is the best of the trio as well as the most experimental though all stretch and explore with imagination their boundaries and hearts.
The New Aeon EP is not only the welcome return of artists which previously excited and gave some important moments for the ear to enjoy but also the beginning of something even more powerful and special. Given the evidence of the release it equally feels like Era Hex is ready to emerge from their previous respected standing to become a new force in European metal.
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