An effort conjured last year is now becoming physically realized through Sentient Ruin Laboratories, and it introduces one of Finland’s newest hostilities in the form of HEXEREI, whose arrival brings the full wrath and possession of Ancient Evil Spirits to our material plane. This title speaks for itself, and it directs malevolence with primeval force into compositions offering new lifeblood to the classic blackened collective. A hex is carried out while noted patterns weave derangement across the rhythmic turbulence, along with disorienting currents from various incorporeal energies, and their effects are paralleled in maniacal vocal projections. Portents become as HEXEREI embraces the chaos of forbidden arts, and these generate four extensive rites on Ancient Evil Spirits to wreak endless torment on humanity.
An orchestrated hellstorm ensues amid the laughter of an unhinged mind on “Essence of Ancient Evil,” and this cacophonous entry gives way for a raw display of riffage that blasts ahead with thunderous effect. Sharp accents are noted in the attack, and a grooved shift accompanies the reverberating of fiendish vocals. This continues as strange perceptions arise during a rhythmic break, and these hallucinogenic forms expand when the pace progresses into a slower purposeful strike. Long string bends carry its stride until blast beats are unleashed, and otherworldly screams soar over the harsh riffing along with other psychedelic encounters. Warped lead elements appear with the steadied pulse, and its intervals pound onward with distorted counterparts to the demented opening on “Doom of Abysmal Graves.” A dismal aura issues from the dissonance of low tremolo currents, and a solo evokes discord in their course with its vibratos and piercing frenzy. This prompts a heavy rocking groove, and it proceeds through multiple structures until reaching noted points, where entrancement also coincides with elevated tonal developments. A bout of blasting drums compounds its intensity, and disturbed melodic patterns unfold while voices convey a cryptic presence lurking in their depths.
The steadiness of the previous track is contrasted by quickness after a grim vocal introduction on “Howling Necromantical Imprecations,” and this power is sustained across riffing with blast-beaten and fluent rhythmic transitions. Soloing materializes amid the strife before a pounding beat transpires, and numerous eerie vibrations and harmonics are produced while leadwork shreds further within its abrasiveness. Spectral energies also appear as fretted forms advance toward a void, where footsteps tread through a catacomb or dungeon-like setting, and ambient horrors dig deeper with an elevating pulse on “Unholy Ceremonial Invocation.” I tend to avoid comparing bands to other bands, but here will state this massive finale is opened effectively by a passage of distinct CULTES DES GHOULES impurity. A rocking pace with dissonant arpeggiated patterns drops into doom, which portends an onslaught initiated by tremolo melodies, and disturbed pulsations evolve on its path until a menacing break gives rise to mad psychedelia. These rhythmic and elemental structures continue with notes that swing and descend throughout multiple variations, along with sections of heavy discord and shrieking lead effects, and a hidden astral form is revealed during the last dismal interlude. Its radiance draws the cumulative wrath of tremolos punctuated by chords and intermittently tolling bells, and their hypnotic rush merges with an ending of triumph among shadows.
Diabolic acts are further exercised in the chaotic spirit of the texts, with possession and hallucinatory visions occurring throughout, and it begins with influences described as “From depths of madness emanating” on “Essence of Ancient Evil.” An “Amorphous storming elemental attack” follows the ritual where a “Decapitated head sees the fleeing light,” and the masses become possessed “For the coming of Nightside Eden.” This “Ritual soul abduction” ends with a “Violent ceremonial climax” before the vile brew comprising “Thick sludge boiled infants” is consumed on “Doom of Abysmal Graves.” Visions of a “Paradise of rot and ruin” deemed “Pure as innocence” are induced, and the seer chooses to “Return to waters black” until a time when “I’m cleansed of all humanity.”
Macabre ritualistic imagery continues on “Howling Necromantical Imprecations” with the “Prophesy carved in flayed human skin,” and its malicious counterpart is shown in “Boiling seas of liquefied entrails – Hate.” Their “Most hideous of forms” are summoned within “Circles of salt gathered from tears of angels,” which then brings revelations amid “Rabid uttered blasphemies” and “Holy figures molded of excrement,” along with an aftermath where “Flesh is charred and will is torn,” but also “With black blood and twelve wings be reborn.” A “Nocturnal ritual sacrifice” serves as the final offering on “Unholy Ceremonial Invocation,” where “Slippery tongues like tentacles” are “Summoning spirits from the depths” and participants are regarded as “Perfect vessels for demons to enter.” This leads to “Paralyzing revelations” that “No man should see,” and they roam the forest to “Feed the starving shadows” as the possession takes hold. The music is easily mirrored and amplified by this lyrical substance, and many other grim but intriguing details are contained within.
HEXEREI have cast an alluring curse with the power of Ancient Evil Spirits, and its upcoming physical release commands due attention for this year, even though it technically materialized in 2021. A number of my own prevailing tastes are typified in its style and features, with sections of heavy methodical rhythm intertwined with others driven by savagery, and many complex melodic structures and riffs are discerned within its hellishness. A notable character is formed in the madness from hallucinogenic and spectral energies circulating throughout, along with the heightened frenzy of lead elements, and these enhance the overall sound while appropriately reflecting the events depicted lyrically. The nature of primitive black metal is firmly embodied with enough distinction to carve an identity for HEXEREI, and devotees of the genre will surely find themselves possessed by the potency of Ancient Evil Spirits.