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Haxxan: Loch Ness Rising

This is a debut album that deserves wide exposure. At first, the music may seem little more than another look back at old-school black metal, but it rises above its influences to give listeners something solid and satisfying. Even if it were only yet another nod to the old-school, the production on this thing is heavy and impressive and the songwriting is gripping, strong, and occasionally beautiful. There are even some twin guitar harmonies here and there that raise things up even more.

At first, I was skeptical about this album, never because of the solid music, but because of its thematic grounding in the life and works of Aleister Crowley. I think I get it—Crowley is a go-to guy because of his interests in ritual magic and occultism. And yet, I find the turn to Crowley to be occasionally overdone. I mean, Jimmy Page was fascinated by Crowley's stuff way back when and Ozzy's "Mr. Crowley" is now the stuff of classic rock. Surely, there must be other topics for discussion. And yet, Haxxan does a nice job putting together 10 tracks that are both heavy, powerful, and atmospheric. There are times when the music is even beautiful. "Aiwass" is a strong example as is "The Aethyr." If those are the quieter tracks, the rest of the album is heavy and caustic. For the most part, this is just what it seems to be—old-school black metal. And yet, I hear much more than just the sum of the band's listed influences: Beherit, Archgoat, and Blasphemy.

Some readers will recognize the name Killjoy DeSade (Necrophagia, The Ravenous, Wurdulak, and so on). He sings and plays synthesizer. His vocals are raspy and suit the music perfectly. I occasionally wanted a little more variety from him but he never falters when he's on. Joining him are Shawn Slusarek (guitar), Jake Arnette (bass), and Serge Streltsov (drums). Arnette and Streltsov do a nice job holding things together but Slusarek's guitar playing really stands out. He is a solid rhythm player, one who plays with punch and power. His leads rise naturally out of those riffs, giving the music even more character and variety. The production highlights the guitar in ways that make things sound even heavier. Overall, Haxxan has put together an impressive debut that is sure to please fans of older black metal and, yes, for fans of Crowley-inspired themes. Check out "Babalon," "Disciples of the Silent," and "Beyond the Grace of God." I also recommend the aforementioned "Aiwass" and "The Aethyr." Highly recommended.

Track Listing:
1. Loch Ness Rising
2. 93
3. A. A. (Arcanum Arcanorum)
4. Babalon
5. Aiwass
6. Disciples of the Silent
7. Chemical Perversions
8. The Blackest Chasm
9. Beyond the Grace of God
10. The Aethyr

Added: March 1st 2017
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Score:
Related Link: Bandcamp Page
Hits: 447
Language: english

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