Life is made up of second chances and second opportunities. This is provided we choose to take them. Given how many times that I miss my first chance at something, I am always willing to give it another chance. Such is the case with Hexvessel. While I did really like their album “When We are Death” from 2016, for whatever reason “All Tree” from 2019 really did nothing for me…at the time. So this of course left me at a crossroads when the new album “Kindred” came my way.
I heard the first song I heard from it was “Phaedra,” and I was VERY interested. It sounds like Nick Cave doing a dark folk song. That really works for me right now. I say that because I’ve recently (and finally) discovered the brilliance of Nick Cave. But that’s another story. “Kindred” takes the epic darkness from “When We are Death” and melds it with the acoustic folk of “All Tree” for a nice balance of each. In the process, it actually prompted me to go back to “All Tree” and yes, I actually understand and appreciate it now! Ah, second chances.
“Billion Year Old Being” is a haunting opening track and my favorite one. It’s starts with a very moody intro before it stomps into gear. For whatever reason, it reminds me of Ghost with a lot less Satan and a lot more “druid in the woods.” And if you like vintage keys, well you’ve come to the right place. This is an exceptional track and very progressive too.
“Demian” is very interesting because it sounds like it’s warped for a bit. The first time I heard it, my head tipped to the side like a dog. But once you know it’s coming, it makes sense. It’s a nice slice of eerie psychedelia. Plus it has a very tasty guitar solo. “Fire of the Mind” is the more folk side of Hexvessel and Mat McNerney turns in one of his best vocals. The instrumentation is another strength of this album. An example is the muted trumpet on “Bog Bodies.” It adds that dark alley sort of vibe to the song. Wow.
“Kindred” is so good that I even love the shorter instrumental pieces, “Sic Luceat Lux” and “Family.” If you’ve read any of my reviews, you know I hate what I call “throwaway” tracks and often those are interludes or short tracks. These are not that at all. They are beautiful and add to the flow of the album as a whole. “Sic Luceat Lux” is an unsettling number that while acoustic still has power because of it’s avant-garde style. “Family” is the opposite. It’s a tranquil acoustic guitar piece that’s warm and welcoming.
Instrumentation once again makes a song “Kindred Moon” interesting. The percussion is really unique and when coupled with McNerney’s falsetto and the chord patterns, it’s absolutely striking…and unnerving too. “Magical and Damned” is a great title for a song and it really sums up Hexvessel’s sound too! The song is magical musically, a beautiful ballad while the lyrics are far more damned. “She’s so magical, so mystical and damned.” A beautiful track. “Joy Of Sacrifice” is the closing track and seems to arrive too soon! There’s not a missed moment in the 40 minutes of “Kindred.” So much so that when it’s done, you want to start again.
Sometimes understanding a band and their music is about you and the band reaching the same point at the right time. When that happens, all doors are opened and all veils are lifted. I’ve had that happen a lot of times and when it does, that’s when you can truly love music. That’s when you feel the power. “Kindred” is one of those times for me. “Kindred” is a compelling album that has a perfect flow and sequence. It’s one of those albums I know I will go back to when I am not sure what to listen to. That’s the highest complement I can pay it.
1. Billion Year Old Being
3. Fire Of The Mind
4. Bog Bodies
5. Sic Luceat Lux
8. Kindred Moon
9. Magical and Damned
10. Joy Of Sacrifice