Posts Tagged ‘Hex Morbidity’

I reviewed the newest EP from British black metallers Hex Morbidity recently, and I’ve been lucky enough to have a chat with Jarod, the mastermind behind this cold hearted black project. We talked about his band, the melancholic nature of British black metal and how not sounding like your influences can be a good thing…

So where did the genesis of Hex Morbidity come from? Who are the main influences?

Hex Morbidity began as my own project which I formally started very early in 2013. I got a line-up together but I wasn’t satisfied with it so this slowly disintegrated before we started playing shows. Hex now exists as a one-man band but I am currently making it into a live act and have found a guitarist and am looking for bassist and a drummer. There are no big influences because I never wanted to sound like my favourite bands; I want to do something different. Of course I have influences though, off the top of my head they would be Genesis, My Dying Bride, Burzum, Eastern Front, Hecate Enthroned, At The Gates, Winterfylleth, Death…

Is there a particular theme to Hex Morbidity’s work?

I see Hex Morbidity as a kind of personal outlet- the lyrics are all based on my own experiences, intentions or expressions and the music works along with that. There is no ‘concept’ to the band though in the same way that other acts have a novelty.

Is there anything you feel about Hex Morbidity’s music that is particularly British? British black metal seems to have a rich and diverse scene, where do you think Hex Morbidity fit in?

I think a lot of my influences are British. Musically, I’m inspired by a lot of the British traditional metal bands and the extreme underground of the early 90s. Lyrically, I’m inspired by British poets and authors, particularly of the romantic movement. You’re correct that British BM is a rich scene. Hex Morbidity sounds more melancholic, more emotion led but also wild and unpredictable too. I think too many bands that I listen too nowadays sound so similar and on auto-pilot- Hex Morbidity isn’t like that.

You mentioned My Dying Bride as an influence, and British poets and the romantic movement as a lyrical influence. MDB are at times one of the bleakest bands out there, yet I don’t feel they get as much credit as an influence as they deserve. What is it about the British psyche that can conjure up this melancholy?
I think it’s just part of the national character to be a little pessimistic and to have a dark sense of humour. I wouldn’t say I’m a miserable person, but I am attracted to melancholy and I find it much more satisfying, and also more natural, to write darker songs and lyrics.

As a black metal musician, is there pressure for your sound to be a certain way, or does the genre allow you to interpret it freely?

I don’t feel any constrains because I don’t consider myself a black metal musician. I just write the music I want to write and play, and that seems to fit the black metal genre more than others. I never try to make music which deliberately fits into any category

Is the desire to ‘not sound like anyone else’ been a conscious decision, or just how the music of Hex Morbidity took its course? A lot of musicians try to create their own unique identity, but fail to do so. Is it difficult to be unique in this modern world of oversaturation?

I would say it is a somewhat conscious decision to sound different, because I am sick of hearing bands who do nothing new. Originality in this day and age is very hard though, and obviously Hex Morbidity is not creating a new genre or anything like that, but I feel that my music has it’s own sound and it’s own identity and I’m happy with that.I wouldn’t be satisfied by just copying other people’s style, whereas some people are. I hope to develop aesthetics further when it comes to live shows.

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Where is the next path for Hex Morbidity, more music, live performances?

My main goal now is to finish the live line-up and play some shows and then record some more material, but I’d like to work with a producer next time to get a new creative input.

How is your local scene, is there a thirst for black metal in particular?

I’ve recently moved to London, so yes the black metal scene is very good. Not a lot of the bands are from here, but they all travel from across England to play here and there are good gigs on all the time and a couple of promoters who do a great job putting on good nights.

Who are the best black metal bands frpm the UK in your experience? Are there any up and comers we need to keep an eye on?
Live the best bands are Ethereal, Eastern Front and Stahlsarg, but these aren’t my favourites to listen to on record. For my money, Old Corpse has been the most exciting band in the British underground for years and they still are.
Will the development of Hex Morbidity as a live entity affect the song writing? Is it likely to become a full band for studio purposes as well as as a live prospect?
On first thoughts I wanted to still write everything myself, but the guitarist who has unofficially joined (announcement coming soon) has given me some ideas to work with already so I would say I am more open to collaboration. I don’t think Hex will ever become the kind of band that writes songs by jamming in the rehearsal room though. In terms of studio work I still like to play everything myself but I’m sure there are drummers out there who would do a better job recording than me. If a guitarist has written a solo or a keyboardist an intro, I think it adds more flavour to the music if they play it themselves too.
Be sure to get yourselves a copy of Hex Morbidity’s excellent self titled EP now, available at their Bandcamp page below.

British black metallers Hex Morbidity came to my attention a few years ago on a split with Baalberith and Forneus, and they have returned with their new, self titled EP. It’s another three tracks of icy, dark black metal for us to be thankful for this winter!

Opener ‘Pallu Noctu rises from the grave with gloomy strings, before some melancholic riffing captures your attention. It immediately feels different, more mature than their preivous work. There’s a touch of Amorphis or Paradise Lost about the guitar tone and the more measured pace, and that tone continues with the faster and more fearsome ‘The Spirit of Aldywch’. This is faster, and is more overtly black metal in its appearance but the thick atmosphere drenches it in misery. I really like this direction; it gives the songs more body and injects a bit of identity in Hex Morbidity. I commented on their original split work as being a bit forgettable, but this is certainly not the case now!

Closing with the gothic gloom of the title track, where you can feel the fist of second wave black metal being pulled under by traditional English doom atmospheres and, dare I say, melodies (!), Hex Morbidity’s new direction is a thing of rare beauty. Retaining their raw, black metal edge (and still with the snarling vocal delights) but submerging it entirely within tar black melancholy has reinvigorated them. I look forward to the band becoming an underground gem for British black metal in years to come.

Split CDs are not something I’ve ever really got into too. Mostly because I prefer full length records from bands to really gauge their sound and whether I like them or not. I also find that they can sometimes be pretty hard to find commercially, but maybe thats the point. But what split records are really good at is showcasing bands in a short burst, and it is definitely a medium I’m becoming more familiar and more fond of. This three way split from members of the UK black metal underground is, for all intensive purposes, my first proper split review, and I’d like to thank the guy from Hex Morbidity who asked me to review it! (Thanks dude!)

The split starts with three tracks from Baalberith, Satanic black metallers who have been around in some form or another since 1999 (they split up as Black Death then were reformed in 2006 with a new name). ‘Abortion of Religious Futility’ is a solid opener, with waves of mournful riffs and reverb soaked vocals giving a very hellish atmosphere. ‘Quest for Satan’ is decidedly more violent and to the point, although the gurgling howl of ‘SAATAAANN!!’ is maybe a bit much The vocals are  too overproduced for me in this track; too much going on to keep the lyrics clear and it all becomes a bit messy. It has a nice variety of slower sections and all out assault however which keeps it interesting musically. ‘Apparition of Skulls’ is a much slower, more suffocating and dense track. I think its the best of the three Baalberith tracks, because it has a great atmosphere of filth and evil. I’m a sucker for atmosphere in black metal songs, and this is full of it. You can feel the hate on your skin.

Hex Morbidity have a much clearer production set up than Baalberith, and a much more straightforward approach. They play black metal that is more modern and dare I say lacking in atmosphere. Maybe its the production, I don’t know. The vocals are terrific though, Jarod Lawley has a great black metal rasp. The track ‘Unbaptised’ has a catchy central riff, and is definitely the best of their three; short, sharp and brutally effective. ‘Holy Shrines’ is a bit forgettable to be honest, nothing wrong with it but nothing that grabs me. ‘Stench of Lord and Lamb’ is a lumbering exercise in almost blackened doom at the start, which is pretty cool too. It also has a suitably melodic solo, a rarity in black metal sometimes.

Onto Forneus, our final band. And I must say, personally they blow the others out of the water with their vicious blackened death metal assault. ‘Litanies of Hatred’ comes scorching out of the speakers, with a Marduk-esque regard for breathing space. There’s something refreshingly relentless about it, showering blastbeats like meteor hail. ‘Embrace the Covenant’ has an almost dissonant intro before turning into the most headbanging song on the record. The riffing is infectious, and there’s a very Swedish feel to their blackened assault; its much more Marduk and Dissection than Mayhem or Darkthrone. This is a very good thing. Too many bands plunder Norwegian black metal and ignore just over the border. They close the split with the titanic ‘Blood Eagle (The Exile)’, which is a seriously epic slice of black metal. Imagine Primordial without the pagan/Celtic influence, and you’re about there. It is a seriously impressive song, and is worth sitting through the rest of the split to find. A slow paced, melancholic masterpiece that fades out into the whispering sounds of madness.

Overall, the black metal underground in the UK is healthy by the looks of these bands. Forneus is my definite favourite find of the three, but the suffocating atmosphere of Baalberith and the no frills quality of Hex Morbidity add something good too. Seek it out if you can.