Exhausting, senses numbing, and simply plain vicious, Manégarmr the debut album from Belgian band Hessian is as toxic as it is scintillating though a tempest which has to be endured and enjoyed numerous times to feel its full wealth of rewards and riches, admittedly by that time though the ears are wasted sludge on the floor and mental capacity reduced to that of molten tar.
Consisting of guitarist Levy Seynaeve (of Amenra), drummer Tim Bryon (of The Black Heart Rebellion), vocalist Bram Coussement, and bass player Kenneth Vanhoutte, Hessian came together three years ago, their different musical backgrounds and inspirations joining for an immediate understanding, an instinctive conspiracy which roars from within their raging music and album. A well-received debut EP set things in motion soon followed by a split 7″ with Amenra, a split LP with Pale Creation on Magic Bullet Records, as well as numerous shows throughout Europe. Their recent signing with Southern Lord has laid down the perfect base for the release of Manégarmr into the world though whether it is ready for it is debatable.
The band bring the most destructive essences of sludge and black metal into a merger with just as predatory intent of punk and crust, the result a carnivorous abrasion which scores flesh and leave synapses a dysfunctional wasteland. Opener Ascension sends a sonic banshee squeal through the ear before thrusting a furious onslaught of blackened riffing and energy right after it. It is a mere appetiser though as the full force and hunger of the track explodes in a hardcore brawl fuelled attack with bass and drums chewing everything in sight in rapacious urgency and the guitars searing anything left, whilst the vocals of Coussement treats the senses to sand blaster bred violence.
It is a murderous start easily matched and at times outbid by the following likes of the scintillating venomously grooved Serpent’s Whisper with a cascade of fervid malevolence accompanying every skilled and malevolently crafted note, the savage Plague Monger, and Father Of Greed. The second of these rips a big hole in emotions with an annihilatory scythe of riffs and a down pour of rhythmic brutality before cauterising the wounds with a sonic greed and melodic acid for a painful but delicious confrontation, while the latter of the trio throws its full weight against the senses with lumbering oppressive doom cored intensity.
Allowing a little respite through the acerbic and melodically distressed instrumental Vamacara, band and album regain any lost submission through the ferocious Swallowing Nails, its fire of sonic animosity leaving a hazy aftermath of burnt consciousness and simpering compliance, and the equally vindictive Hollow Eyes, a ravenous war on the senses whose every note is a rabid predator obliterating any notion of escape or hope.
Completed by the title track and Mother Of Light, it is hard to say enjoyment played a major part in the experience such the pungent havoc unleashed but there is only a massive selfish hunger to return to its nasty arms left after the final duo of songs leave their branding. Both tracks epitomise the release and band, grievous, sonically severe, and the deliverers of undefined but intense invention, even if you have to fight through the corpses of lost brain cells and demolished senses to find the treasure.
Manégarmr is an excellent release deserving of all the acclaim it will receive. One more final warning, do not try to listen to anything else for a least a day after facing Hessian eye to ear, the ringing does stop…eventually.
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from