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Some albums are confusing me during a first listen. Invariably, every music lover will create categories into which he classifies groups and the songs he listens, but it's not always that simple. This happened when I put my ear on Trist (2012), latest album of the Austrian horde Hellsaw. No doubt, this is black metal, but with many nuances. Rather than focusing on a single sub-genre, these Styrians navigate between several. This gives a very interesting result. Let’s analyze this beast.
The Devil Is Calling My Name starts the album and is divided in two steps. Slow at first, this song picks up speed after a minute, setting sound characteristics of the entire album, especially for the rhythmic section. The drum has a very hollow sound and bass is well-mixed, elements also strongly present throughout the disc. Fastest of the record, with a few blasts, Sorrow Is Horror is still interspersed with passages that introduce much heavier moods. It is however with Doom Pervades My Nightmares and its long acoustic passage that reveals the multifaceted nature of Hellsaw. We leave the strict traditional repertoire of black metal to add melodic elements. This is even more evident on The Forerunner of the Apocalypse and its mid-tempo epic moments and Death Bells and its incantatory hymns! As for the title track, it wears its name well. Trist could indeed easily be found on a depressive black metal album with its languid despair. However, the group goes again with A Winter Cold and Beldam. 1450, which is a fast and aggressive tune, cools down with slow transitions that make you want to tap your foot. Just like the opening track, Silence concludes the album by starting in first gear before moving to the fifth without warning, while beautiful and powerful yelled passages accompany this excellent title.
Hellsaw shows a great maturity with this album. The compositions are balanced and the album is captivating from the first to the last note. My only complaint would be the sound of the drums, I would have liked it more organic and less metallic, but apart from this detail, Trist is a very good album, who knows how to make the best of several sub-genres of contemporary black metal. 8/10
Initially written for metalobscur.com