This is the second full length album from my fellow countrymen with the peculiar name Hex A.D. I’m not really sure if this is a band or a solo thing from drummer Rick Hagan. I’ve seen them live a couple of times and I saw some footage from a show they did with current Candlemass-singer Mats Lèven, which was absolute killer.
I was never able to get a hold of their debut, which I believe may only have been released on vinyl, not really sure. I heard this band through a sampler, Doom over Cthulu, and have been a fan ever since. The track was called Fields of Gehenna and back then the band was simply called HEX, which seems a better name. I guess someone was already called HEX and they just added the A.D. later.
The music on the album is absolutely amazing, beautiful and very well crafted. There is only one thing I don’t really care for on this record, and that is the Deep Purple mark II organ sound that is used on several tracks. The whole album seems heavily inspired by the seventies, but I personally can’t stand this sound. It screeches in my ears.
The album opens with a four minute instrumental piece, which is a bold move I must say, but it works. The Bitter End is a beautiful piece. The sound and opening riff has a soothing effect on me.
A Nocturnal Report continues the feel from the Bitter End and seems almost like a continuation of the former track. The melodic guitar sets a mood, a heavy mood, a gloomy mood. It builds and rolls, and builds again. The vocal delivery is incredible, the phrasing and melody brings the song together in a major way. I also enjoy the lyrics, this is some Poe-ish stuff right here.
Another Graveyard Shift is in the same direction as the two previous tracks. Beautiful guitars, well crafted melodies and sinister sounding lyrics. The most interesting song is the 15 minute epic The Madrigal of the Black Hooded Crow. I’m not usually one for songs that stretches past ten minutes, but when they work, it’s usually in a great way. This track works, for the most part. The way riff follow on riff, without being dragged out or passed over. I’m not too fund of how the songs ends. It’s this acoustic, Celtic sounding, melodic thing, that sounds like Primordial doing a ballad. Just doesn’t work for me and might be the only musically thing I’m not into on the entire record.
The album finishes off with a short Opeth, circa Black Water Park, sounding tune called …as a Doornail. This might be the heaviest track, in the traditional sense.
I will give this album all kinds of recommendations. It’s got this seventies Sabbath meets Rainbow with Dio meets Deep Purple mark II and III, played in the sound and style of eighties Candlemass kind of feel. So I guess if you like any of these bands, you should check this band out.
Recommended tracks: A nocturnal Report, The Madrigal of the Black Hooded Crow.
Rating: 4,5 / 5