Label: Pulverised Records
Release Date: May 28, 2012
Hexen hails from Los Angeles, California and is located ideally in the world of thrash. We have been given their second full-length album, Being and Nothingness, by way of Pulverised Records. This thrash-oriented quartet has made some nice gains since their 2008 release, State of Insurgency. Still present are the straight ahead aggressive riffs thrash lovers will enjoy endlessly. Whereas State of Insurgency was a straighter forward thrash sound, Being and Nothingness has a more mature sound with even more edge.
The album begins with an instrumental, “Macrocosm”, setting a mood of determination and contemplation. And two and half minutes later, “Grave New World” kicks in the door to your ear and immediately you hear the familiar shreds of thrash. Waiting in the wings is the technical brilliance of guitarists, Ronny Dorian and Tak Arayan. There was soloing mastery displayed on their earlier work, but it is clearly even more improved this time out. The solos are a remarkable aspect of this new album, and can foreshadow good things to come for future Hexen releases.
“Defcon Rising” reinforces the narrative of our modern social and political climate as well as the ability of Hexen to construct songs that convey the enormity of a complex situation using a mesh of different tempos and tones. “Private Hell” starts off a stretch of songs that look more into themes of the Self and more existential topics. This continues into “Walk As Many”, “Stand As One” and “Stream of Unconsciousness”. There was some serious thought put into the lyrical content as snarled and shouted by bassist and vocalist, Adrian Hartoonian. A nice change of pace as more than a few newer thrash bands write extensively about drinking brew, how hard they thrash, or banter on with non-sequiturs involving zombies or hell knows what. There are quite a few polysyllabic words and it’s always nice to expand one’s vocabulary.
The vocal style is reminiscent of a latter-day Jon Nödtveidt, but that isn’t the only Dissection reference. The drums on a few songs of Being and Nothingness, the toms especially, sound quite like the production onStorm of the Light’s Bane. Hexen drummer, Giovanni Loyola, is new to the band as of this year, but fits in seamlessly with this tight performing group. That is another glowing asset to this band. All are technical players and well beyond the leagues of competent. They play with skill and pay attention to detail, not shabby for a thrash band!
The album closes out on two tracks, “The Nescient” and the fifteen minute long end cut, “Nocturne”. The latter is a massive track that is built from the ground up and evolves before your ears before rocketing off to a fitting conclusion in a flurry of notes. I suggest you put down your copies of Sartre or Nietzsche and pick up Hexen’s new album, Being and Nothingness. The band has put together an outstanding album that deserves to be heard.