Album: Iron Marsh
Label: Svart Records
Genre: Forest Folk
Hexvessel, a relatively new band (releasing albums since 2011) from Finland, have released the EP Iron Marsh as a companion piece to the 2012 album No Holier Temple. The music of Hexvessel is a combination of late 60s/early 70s English folk/psychedelia with Finnish nature mysticism.
Hexvessel are not your average 60s nostalgia, over-aged hippie-lot that you might expect them to be from the description of their music. Fusing with Finnish mysticism makes their music both transcendent and spacey as well as earthly and forest-y, at the same time.
Iron Marsh contains 5 tracks, and gives you 35 minutes of music - or should I say, a trip that raises you from the every day life into the deep forests of Finland, where you can contemplate the beauty of nature as well as the futility of mankind.
Earlier this year, Hexvessel toured together with Sabbath Assembly, of which Ye Are Gods received a rave review a few months ago. Comparing the music of Hexvessel to Sabbath Assembly would cut the creativity of each of these bands short, but I'd like to mention that both bands manage to completely envelop the listener into the experience that their music evokes. It's a purely magical experience.
The opening track of Iron Marsh is an epic, more than 13-minute-long piece that breathes forest magic and distant voices during a psychedelic trip. The beautiful voice of lead singer Mat McNerney takes the front role on “Superstitious Currents”. The sluggish, prog-rock-ish “Tunnel at the End of the Light” combines deep hints of Pink Floyd with a deeper layer of more urgency for all of us to respect the remaining woods.
“Woman of Salem” is a cover of a track by Yoko Ono, and according to Hexvessel, it is “in tribute to Ono, who is as remarkable as a producer/song-writer as she is an activist and artist. She used her creativity to awaken generations to the concept of world peace in an age where activism on environment and social issues was considered radical, extreme and dangerous. Her music is under-rated genius and her influence on John Lennon’s inspirational music is not regarded highly enough. Her art continues to influence Hexvessel and this track is a tip of the hat to her.” The resulting track certainly is a beautiful tribute as well as a very catchy track.
The final track “Don't Break the Curse” invokes secret meetings of witches deep within the dense Finnish forests, and reminds me of the music by Current 93 as a result of the prayer-like verses and the hypnotizing voice of Mat McNerney.
To conclude: Hexvessel are a band that you should check out – regardless of your musical taste. Their love for music and the forests is inspiring and makes me want to sing songs around a bonfire in a forest and hug trees.
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