Häxanu


Naturmystik
Häxanu / Greve

United States Country of Origin: United States

1. Mercy
2. Saintly Surgery
3. Untitled
4. The Winged Chalice


Review by Felix on May 14, 2024.

An American and a Swedish band meet under a German title. Welcome to Naturmystik, a split where Häxanu and Greve join forces. They have recorded more than 44 minutes of music, so there is nothing wrong in terms of quantity. Häxanu have got the first four slots and I think they deserve to kick off this split, because their excellent debut from the year 2020 has shown that they can forge ingenious black metal.

Sadly, the opener 'Mercy' reminds us of the bitter fact that an outstanding first album can become a problem. Even in view of the less fascinating Totenpass full-length, my expectations were very high and 'Mercy' cannot fulfil them. Stylistically, it follows the route of the debut’s material, but it sounds like a leftover of the debut. The song suffers a bit from little intensity and anyone who doesn't show full commitment in the social Darwinist world of black metal is quickly eaten up. Even the comparatively mild, 'Untitled' intermezzo, adds a comparable degree of value to the split – and it doesn’t add so much, to be honest. But Häxanu prevent a medium-sized disaster with 'Saintly Surgery', a brilliant, dense and stormy piece. 'The Winged Chalice' also celebrates some haunting melodies and especially during the fast parts at the song’s end, I get this exciting “Snare Of All Salvation” feeling again. Conclusion: Häxanu’s contribution does not show a band at the zenith of its creativity, but at least it proves that the duo can still achieve outstanding results, namely 'Saintly Surgery'. Finally, the well-defined production is better than that of their partners in crime, because Greve’s material sounds slightly blurred and less focused (but not bad as well).

And so I am landed in Sweden, ready for the four tracks of its representatives. Greve are a blank page for me, I have heard some excerpts of their music so far, but I never listened really intensively to their art. Now I hear a band that loves high velocity and typical genre melodies, but the single components do not always go hand in hand. Thus, the songs lack coherence to a certain extent. 'Gudaföraktets Ton', for example, is not bad, but it gives me the feeling that the band did not make the best out of the song. Despite its different parts, it expresses uniformity. There is no real arc of tension, and this degrades the song to a solid, but not great number. At least it is cold and fast, and there we get “true” Nordic blackness, something that almost never totally disappoints. Nevertheless, the material of Greve is neither infectious nor does it boast with a long-lasting effect. It is probably too harsh to say that they want, but they can’t. The usual components, for example very raw vocals with reverb on it, restlessly hammering drums and (halfway) atmospheric keyboard carpets do not lead to thrilling results and so the ambient outro brings a rather imperfect album half to the end. From my point it’s 7.5 for Häxanu, 5.7 for Greve and 6.6 for the entire split.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

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