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Hexvessel: No Holier Temple

Marketed as a psychedelic pagan folk band, the Finnish ensemble Hexvessel return with their sophomore effort No HolierTemple, which follows up on their 2011 debut. Exactly what "psychedelic pagan folk" might mean is, of course, a matter of discussion, but the concepts evoked by the three words in the phrase are definitely there.

Although thre is a certain pastoral feel to some of the passages on the album, the folk element is not as such present in the melodies, as it is in the instrumentation and, as a consequence, in the overall texture of the music on the album. Thus flutes, Jew's harpes and other folk instruments participate, along with the more traditional rock instrumentation, in the generation of what is actually a very dark atmosphere. Just check out a track like the ominous 'His Portal Tomb' which also draws on early doom metal.

There is an overal psychedelic sense to the album, which stems from the bands incorporation of 70s rock-derived elements into their music, but it is more of a dark and threatening type of psychedelia, more akin to early King Crimson or Gentle Giant in their darker moments than to your typicaly 70s flower power rock. So, yes, Hexvessel's music is actually considerably creepy and might scare the living wits out of an unsuspecting mainstream pop fan. Just play 'His Portable Tomb' or 'Are You Coniferous' to your Shakira-loving little sister, and you can be sure that she never invades your room again.

The pagan element lies primarily in the lyrics, as indicated by titles such as 'Heaven and Earth Magic', 'Woods to Conjure', 'Wilderness Is', and 'Dues to the Dolmen', but this does translate into the music, because it suits the dark atmosphere so perfectly. If you get the feeling that you are lost in a forest populated by tree spirits, lake demons and trolls when listening to this album, then no-one will hold it against you.

Fans of dark progressive rock with folk elements and a pagan atmosphere must not miss out on Hexvessel's second album.

1. Heaven and Earth Magic
2. Woods to Conjure
3. Wilderness Is
4. A Letter in Birch Bark
5. Elegy to Goyahkla
6. His Portal Tomb
7. Are You Coniferous
8. Sacred Marriage
9. Dues to the Dolmen
10. Unseen Sun
11. Your Head is Reeling

Added: September 9th 2012
Reviewer: Kim Jensen
Related Link: Hexvessel @ Tumblr
Hits: 2396
Language: english

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