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HIDDEN: "Dead Land Energy" - 60%

skaven, January 16th, 2012

Hidden’s cover artworks have never really looked like black metal albums, and neither does the band sound like traditional black metal to almost any extent: on their third offering Dead Land Energy, I’m getting minor vibes of Darkthrone, especially when it comes to the vocal output reminiscent of Under a Funeral Moon, but other than that we’re dealing with quite an experimental effort combining a lot of varying influences from different genres.

Production-wise, Dead Land Energy sounds almost sludgy, even if bass guitar isn’t in so prominent role in this rather lo-fi soundscape - but still the atmosphere is murky in a sludgy way. The musical styles keep shifting even within individual songs: from relentless blast beats and malicious tremolo picked sawing to psychedelic and almost happy sounding middle sections with some bird samples in the background and occasional epic guitar solos. There’s also a bunch of doom metal elements, not to forget the synths and some death and thrash metal and...

Yeah, Dead Land Energy is a diverse record - perhaps even a bit too much so that it loses its focus a little and doesn’t always sound so coherent. The songs - all relatively short bursts - do flow from track to another seamlessly but at times the weirdness seems like rather random jamming with not-that-mindblowing melodies. The record does take its time to open, and not until my fifth spin or so I’m truly starting to digest and appreciate this 44-minute whole.

It would be unfair to rate Dead Lang Energy poorly, that’s for sure. If you’re into unusual sounding blends of styles and don’t require polished sound from your music, Hidden’s newest album is definitely worth checking out. Even if not the most interesting effort of this rather high quality beginning of 2011, Dead Land Energy should not be overlooked.

3 / 5
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