Häxenzijrkell - Urgrund [Amor Fati - 2022]
Häxenzijrkell are a black metal duo hailing from Essen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. They have been active since 2016- so not new players in the realm of the darkly dressed art, they have one demo, two ep's, two split ep’s and two full-lengths in their arsenal, with Urgrund being their latest.
Divided into three parts, “Die Entschleierung”, “Von Zeit und Form”, “and “Der Pfad der Finsternis”. Urgrund kicks in marvellously, and remains that way until the end. A glimpse of what will be heard comes through very early with the “secluded” and monolithic drum and drone intro, functioning as a clear pathway forward, leading into some amazing slow-paced ritualistic black metal; the perfect engagement!. The vocals are haunting, experimental discharges, with their atmosphere absolutely black. As we move on slight touches of more orthodox BM craft can be observed along the way, with a nod towards the likes of Urfaust and maybe Maya, the Belgian experimental hardcore behemoths of the middle 90s. Though often within the album, Häxenzijrkell steps beyond what one expects from a black metal record
Odes to despair, elegies for the unforeseen dark landscapes, heavy pounding with quite a few solid doom elements merged into their sound. Exceptionally cinematic-like worshipping all the horror classics from Hammer Films era, the casket is open and reeks terror!. The production is crystal clear retaining polished filth, determined musicianship and -somewhat- drone-like and apocalyptic riffage. The guitars are slowly flowing like the water of a river, hammered by the drums and saturated by an amazing, from the pit, voice that rips like the wind blowing. Part three “Der Pfad der Finsternis” is the fastest of them all, showing craftsmanship even at higher speeds. I cannot stress enough the plurality in their music, the atmosphere and everything captured within Urgrund.
Urgrund is a fine example, showcasing that a mid-tempo black metal album can be spectacularly beautiful, extremely interesting and into the point of what the fine arts of black metal actually is! . Grab what has to be grabbed from here. Karl Grümpe