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I have been a big fan of this band's recorded output from the beginning. Be it the gloomy, hypnotic, celtic inspired Aeternus of old, or the later day more deathly Aeternus, I've always considered them to be underrated and overlooked.
However, Hexaeon has been in my collection for 5 years now, and I still cannot decide if I like it or not. Credit where it's due, this album is for the most part, unlike much of what they've done before and it also doesn't really sound like any other band. But it doesn't really work either.
The highpoints: 'The Darkest of Minds' kicks the album off with a staticy intro that soon explodes into an all-out high speed riff-fest. Throw in a couple of interesting time changes and a great clean guitar part in the middle and things are looking up. 'Godhead Charlatan' is a mid-paced assault that wouldn't have sounded out of place on their previous couple of albums and is the album highlight for me. 'The 9th Revolution' maintains a dark and ominous feel throughout and is a great display of how talented a song writer Ares can be when it comes to mood and dynamics. The album closer, 'What I Crave' packs many an interesting idea both musically and vocally. Weaving in and out of blast, doom and groove then back again, with simplistic yet catchy riffs all the while. Never expected to hear Ares croon either, but it fits believe it or not and ends the album on a much better note than i was expecting.
The word that springs to mind for what lies in-between tracks 3 and 9 is INCOMPLETE. 'In the 3rd Dwells Oblivion' sounds like the first song minus the interesting time changes and great clean guitar part in the middle. In a word: rehashed. 'Hexaeon' has a cool 8 string bass intro that leads into a sludge riff that Pantera would be proud of. Keep repeating the same riff, go back to the intro to break the boredom, and then back to the bland Pantera riff. Repeat til fade. 'Punished' goes for the throat up until half way through. It loosens its grip momentarily and you’re expecting it to lunge at you again, but with both hands this time. Instead, it looks at you, slightly irritated and then walks off in the other direction. Musically speaking, it repeats the same order of riffs (all two of them) before an overlong fadeout. This song by the way is only 2:58, and the fade out takes care of roughly 40 seconds of the song. As for the next two songs: 'Ageless Void' - see 'Hexaeon' minus the 8 string bass intro and fadeout. 'Christbait' - see 'Punished' minus the fadeout.
In all seriousness, this album is a frustrating listen as it sounds as if the band were under the gun from their label to get into the studio and get an album out post-haste. That would explain the uninspired songwriting, short running time and low grade production (I’ve heard better demo's). I don't think this is the case though, as from memory this was recorded a full year before it was released.
With the follow-up due out next year, this has given them six years to right the numerous wrongs on display here.
I have high hopes.