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Hex > God Has No Name > Reviews
Hex - God Has No Name

Trapped in a cyclonic nightmare. - 82%

hells_unicorn, December 7th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2019, Digital, Transcending Obscurity Records

Before many of its progenitors became more focused on becoming crossover Goth rock attractions, death/doom was arguably the most bleak and forbidding variant of metal to come raging out of the early 90s. Lately the older style has seen some renewed interest thanks to the efforts of some bands hailing from outside the largely American, Swedish and British sphere from which it was largely pioneered, a few bands drawing far enough into the early reaches of its origins to actually channel some of the NYDM and British mainline acts that were responsible for helping to influence the prime movers. Arguably one of the more potent young acts to come out of the gates swinging their skull-handled spiked club is a Spanish act known as Hex that makes a point of putting death metal's early Lovecraftian obsession front and center, as if the bizarre cosmic hell of an album art adorning their sophomore outing God Has No Name wasn't enough of an indication.

Just about every prime mover in the early 90s death metal scene that had a significant doom metal element to their craft is represented in some way in this dissonant yet melodic excursion into the world of the ancient ones. In addition to obvious aesthetics borrowed from the likes of early Paradise Lost and Runemagick, there is a heavy degree of dank atmospheric tendencies and a trudging quality to the guitar and bass work that is heavily reminiscent of the first couple Immolation albums, albeit slowed down a bit more. Sometimes there is even a less than subtle hint of Autopsy's primordial reinterpretation of Iommi's riffing style and a militaristic aura that is fairly close to Bolt Thrower's The IVth Crusade. Exemplifying this revival of the old school sound is Jonathan Garcia's deep, low-tone groan, which blends perfectly with the lazy and fatalistic pace of the instruments like a bellowing behemoth after the mold of Karl Willetts on a steroid-infused riot.

In contrast to a number of more droning death/doom bands that have been wont to just ride a couple of riffs for 7 or 8 minutes with little in the way of variation or intrigue, this is a band that knows how to turn a sub-5 minute crusher into something that seems more epic and long-lasting by fully exploiting the potential of their arrangement. Case and point the largely straightforward march of doom "Worshiping Falsehood", which does a solid job of utilizing the guitar as a melodic foil to the grunted lyrics and mixes up the riffs a fair bit. This bunch also isn't afraid to kick up the tempo where called for and launch into a brilliant, sludgy rendition of a speedy offering out of early Autopsy in "Apocryphal" that functions as a solid apex point near the album's close. But whether the tempo is kept slow or kicked up to maximum overdrive, the atmosphere remains pitch black and dreary, spearheaded by an extremely raunchy and active bass performance out of Endika, who could almost be qualified as the new Geezer Butler of death/doom.

Pretty much any fan of death metal that leans towards the old school sound that was prominent before Suffocation became the most sought after source of inspiration can appreciate this album, as it is about as much a nod to the saturated auditory violence of the New York sound other than the aforementioned tech pioneers. Pretty much anyone who ate up albums like Here In After and Mental Funeral will be taken in by this, to speak nothing for those who remember the good old days when Sumerian Cry and Transcendence into the Peripheral were a large part of the standard by which death/doom was measured. It comes in a nice compact package that makes it a bit easier to digest than a lot of the more drawn out material that crept into the style a bit later, yet it still has a sense of grandeur and vastness that befits its cosmic imagery and bleak outlook. Strange eons are afoot in the interstellar swamps of fate.