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Hermh - After the fire - ashes - 70%

Phuling, August 23rd, 2008

Hermh are back with another dose of vampirism in the form of symphonic black metal. On the menu this time are an intro, three new songs, a cover of Venom’s "Black metal", an annoying (but I’ll get to that later on) re-mix and four live tracks. So it’s sort of an MCD with bonuses. And as the intro’s bombastic drumming and horn-blowing sets in it’s easy to drift away in your thoughts and get swept away into a fantasy land, but you’re abruptly returned to reality by Bart’s harsh screaming.

Ranging from gnarled screaming to deep grunts his voice is definitely in the foreground of this record, while still not stealing the show. ‘Cause the intricacy of the music is really the selling point. They manage to take a style like symphonic black metal and not sound very melodic. The riffing is not what you’d normally expect, as it is rather technical and progressive, with some highly unorthodox keyboard patterns to go with it. And this offers a breath of fresh air, accompanied by the skillful drumming that adds much needed brutality (too not become overly melodic, of course) with the bass drum action. And when you add to this the voice of Bart the sound of Hermh is very harsh and grim, but still remaining within the symphonic part of black metal. The production is clean and clear, but not overly digital so it ruins the music.

But this goes only for the studio recorded tracks, which includes the Venom cover. And what a cool cover it is. Sure, it’s been done hundreds of times before, but these lads surely gets the feet stomping and head banging. Afterwards we have the industrial techno-shite called "Red blood running". Now to me it is utterly annoying as I can’t stand digital music. So let’s quickly leave it behind and move on to the live material.

The sound is not the best I’ve heard, but it’s certainly no way near the worst. It’s ok. The four tracks are from the "Eden’s fire" album, so it’s more of the symphonic, but with a dose of death metal as well. It sounds as a well performed set that was appreciated by the audience. I can’t say it does much for me, I’d much rather listen to the first five tracks one more time, or put on "Eden’s fire". Although "Back from divine" is wicked here…

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