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Hermh - Cold blood messiah CD/DVD - 95%

Phuling, April 16th, 2009

In the few years I’ve been aware of Hermh I’ve had the pleasure of receiving several releases to review, and I’ve certainly enjoyed them all. But this one absolutely knocked me off my feet, blew me away only to pillage, rape and plunder my corpse. "Cold blood messiah" is the definite album of my choice when it comes to symphonic black metal. Forget all about the pansy-ass Cradle of Filth and the misplaced Dimmu Borgir material of the symphonic kind, Hermh is the shit.

To even think about writing an in-depth review of such a nuanced album is like warming up for a marathon, and to then actually trying to dissect the material to come up with a qualitative review, well that’s like the actual marathon. The band has come such a long way from their first steps as a reunited act, and with "Cold blood messiah" they show the quality in music-writing one could detect on "Eden’s fire". At first I wasn’t sure what the difference was, I just knew this was a hell of a lot better. But after checking out the interviews on the bonus DVD I’m all the wiser. What’s changed is the keyboard, since the songs are now based on guitar and flavoured with keyboards, not the other way around. And I think that makes all the difference, as well as having a more mature band.

But let’s skip the DVD for now and focus on the CD part. The forty minutes of music here is delightful, and I’ve played it tons of times now. Frantic blasting and technical riffing is mixed with bombastic choirs, spiced with subtle keyboard action and topped off with a chunky production. This is so much more complex than any of Hermh’s earlier releases, with tons of different tempos and nuances up the whazoo. There are no moments of filler-riffs, as each is placed perfectly in accordance with the skilled drumming. Bart’s voice sounds much harsher and rawer then before, and this time he really lets lose his inner demons with growl-like moments and deep choirs. And it’s this along with the lurking keyboard that makes you wonder exactly how many layers of music we’re talking about. The tempo-variations are marvelous, the symphonies are terrific, the sound quality almost perfect and it’s all just bombastic-as-hell.

The bonus DVD contains a half-hour long documentary about the making of the album, where Bart guides us through some of the writing progress, recording, how they developed the lyrical themes etc. It’s all in Polish as usual, but of course with English subtitles. He also talks briefly about shooting the video for "Hairesis", but there’s also a separate five minute long 'making of' the video. And it’s through these you get to follow the process of creating Hermh’s most developed and mature album as well as first professional music video, and it looks very sinister. On top of this you of course get the video itself, a trailer for the video and some short band interviews.

It all comes delivered in a seriously killer-looking digipack with ominous artwork. And apparently the kid on the cover is Bart’s own son, so that’s cool. If you’ve liked any of their previous outputs, or even if you’re a fan of the previously mentioned wussies Cradle of Filth, or why not even Misteltein, then this comes highly recommended.

Originally written for http://www.mylastchapter.net