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The strangest USBM album ever released - 70%

Spatupon, September 12th, 2014
Written based on this version: 2009, CD, Hells Headbangers Records

Havohej is yet another polarizing black metal band, from the United States of America. You either love the band, or you totally despise the band. In some way or another, this one man band, which has been around for more than twenty years, being an early Dimmu Borgir, and Manes contemporary, has effectively managed to create a dedicated fan-base, whose demographics is composed of mainly black metal fans who are into the rawer, more brutal version of deranged black metal.

This album is quite hermetic, and difficult to approach, actually, I had to listen to it several times in order to completely digest all its components. Can this album be considered experimental or avant-garde? That's subjective, but in my opinion, I think that this album truly manages to escape the area, countless contemporary black metal bands dwell on, to explore new plains, as vast as they may be. One thing which becomes clear as soon as the first two songs finish, is the "drone" sound in the background. That sound, in my opinion, this sound is definitely one of the obstacles which will decide whether one likes this album, or not. At first, I was asking myself what the fuck that noise was, but as the album grew on me, I learned to appreciate it, even though I'm not the biggest fan. The dominant instrument on this album is the drum machine, which doesn't really manage to emulate the sound of a real-life drums.

The vocals are completely deranged, and as you let it screech your mind, you begin to realize that one has to be insane, or at least semi-mentally deficient in order to do such dissonant, evil vocals. The way I see it, these kinds of vocals, are the most suitable in the song called "Hatefull unto God". The atmosphere created by the war-like drums, and the effects of the keyboard, certainly go hand in hand with these vocals. I must admit though, the ten minute song entitled "Melancholike" becomes truly boring, because you instantly realize that the song is going nowhere, and that the unnecessary ten minutes dedicated to it, only serve to bore you out of your now-deprived mind.

"Homerica Medicatio", the last song on the album is an entirely "ambient" song which contains only samples of raging winds which make you feel anxious about a forthcoming apocalypse. It truly is a worthy outro for the entire album, which is quite short when compared to other black metal releases, spanning for a miserable half hour. The bass, and the guitars are non-existent, which makes you think about the direction in which Paul Ledney is trying to go. This album is certainly influenced by ambient/black metal bands such as Abruptum, and Arckanum, two cult Swedish black metal bands. The production is all-right, but hey, we can't really complain about how the guitars are being drowned by the drums, or the bass cannot be heard because the other instruments over-power it, since they are not present on this album, as I've already explained.

Overall, this album is not that bad, and it can make up for quite an unorthodox listen, which will convolute you, and your freaking brain seriously. Apparently, Hell's Headbangers, the label which released this album, is trying to become a forerunner in releasing albums produced by insane people, for insane people. I suggest that if you aren't really into the avant-garde/raw side of black metal to keep at least a hundred fathoms away from this album. But, if you're open-minded about your music, and ready to explore new territory, this album is quite all-right, even if lacking in a lot of traits.