Zweite Beschwörung: Ein Kind Zu Töten
Review by Felix on April 29, 2020.
Hexenbrett is back! Following hot on the heels of the vinyl release of "Erste Beschwörung", the first full-length of the new force of occult metal takes the same line as its predecessor. Josto Feratu and Scarlettina Bolétte, the duo behind Hexenbrett, capture the atmosphere of horror and combine it with a many-sided musical formula, including unorthodox black metal, deathrock and a massive dose of pathological insanity. The artists don't shy away from opulent, almost bombastic moments, they connect solemn parts with the cruel voice of the charismatic lead vocalist, and they like to give full speed whenever it suits the material. The result is another highly original album, even though the sixth track seems to originate from the dusty archive of the Danish King where "two little girls" wait for salvation. In addition, 'The Spider Song' is a cover and one can discuss whether the borrowing of other people's ideas expresses a high degree of originality. However, these details cannot hide the fact that "Zweite Beschwörung" spreads a very individual flair. The album sounds heavy yet pretty melodic, atmospheric yet powerful, adventurous yet clearly defined and quite innovative yet musty.
"Zweite Beschwörung" works as a whole, but it also scores with absolutely outstanding tracks. If we neglect the intro, the cover version and the horror interlude 'Ein Kind Zu Töten II' (by the way, pretty stupid title), then we have a hit rate of 50 percent. Three of the remaining six tracks (this is 50%, right? I wasn't that good in maths) possess larger-than-life elements that maybe / probably / surely will make them to classics of the duo. The first one is the heavy, riff driven 'Spalovac Mtrvol'. It creeps cumbersomely out of its nightmarish dungeon; a flickering guitar sets in and is supported by a heavy and merciless sound frame. The dynamic chorus is anything but cheesy, nevertheless, it keeps sticking in the ear in a matter of seconds. And the best is yet to come: an absolutely stirring outburst of velocity follows the chorus. Slightly unexpected is that a rockstar-like guitar solo has also found a place in this song, but even this narcissistic trip works. Everything fits perfectly together – and isn't it a great gift that both 'La Tumba De Las Muertos Vivientes' and 'Blutige Seide' also invite to a perfect listening experience while distancing by far the solid compositions of thousands of amazed competitors. I don't want to describe these songs as detailed as 'Spalovac Mtrvol' in order to maintain the tension. However, expect a gloomy atmosphere, excellent flows, gargantuan choruses and a lead singer who sovereignly commutes between all dark and mentally disturbed emotions mankind knows. Moreover, rest assured that the further tracks also have – apart from marginal weaknesses – many fascinating moments.
A very expressive element in the sound of "Zweite Beschwörung" is generated by the background vocals, or, to be more precise, the back vocals-like synths. They create a lot of atmosphere. Without being totally different to those that appear constantly (and slightly tiring) on each and every Graveland release, they are livelier and less pregnant with meaning. However, the lead vocals also must be mentioned one more time. In German fairy tales, it's always the devious stepmother that nearly compulsively tortures the helpless, innocent children with perfidious cruelty. Since my childhood, I asked myself where the equally evil stepfather dwells. Now, finally, I have met him. The vocals express exactly this insidious abnormality the Teutonic stepmothers are obviously well known for. Unfortunately, the voice has to struggle in order to be heard, the balance between them and the instruments leaves room for optimization. Either way, the vocals fit the music excellently and create a strong feeling of morbidity.
I know, roughly 35 years ago, Martin Eric Ain was still living (R.I.P.) and Tom G. Warrior was asking "are you morbid?", but don't confuse the Hellhammerian morbidity with that of Hexenbrett. The Swiss cult sent greetings from the sulphurous pits of hell, while here the protagonists emerge as true kings of subtle horror. You sit comfortably in your wing chair, the best place of your cleared living room? Well, this status will change quickly, because the feeling of fear will come crawling in and will take possession of you. The output's relatively warm sound was just produced to keep the listener in a false sense of security. Thus, it's better to leave your living room. Don't listen alone to this work, do it together with someone else. The best partners for this listening session are the grim reaper, the corona virus or a sadistic mother-in-law with a stable frying pan she likes to shatter on your head. Anyway, what really counts is that this formation is back and therefore I generously turn a blind eye on the blatantly attention-grabbing album title. Violence against children sucks completely, but this pitch-black, abysmal material is fantastic. Just inhale the four and a half minutes called 'Blutige Seide' and you will be infected by the sound of this goose bumps causing entity called Hexenbrett.
Rating: 8.9 out of 10620