It’s about time an underground black metal band spoil us. Switzerland’s Hån gives us nothing less than grim emotion on their latest full-length, Facilis Descensus Averni. Hån is the Norwegian word for “scorn,” and their tribute to ridicule is stained on each and every one of the tracks on Facilis Descensus Averni.
Loose percussion ignites track number one, “Black Banners”; a swarm of melancholy instrumentation treads under piercing screams, awaking the theme of the album. Guitars scratch through “Desublimation,” and the arrangement of the melody and vocals makes it feel like a rallying, dark anthem. “Distant Lights” quickly builds up and feeds listeners hyper blast beats. Sealing up the album is “Summum Bonum.” Vocals and instruments work together to give a final outcry, but the album’s effects are to be everlasting.
Journey with me into the colorful phases of the human experience. There’s newness, hardship, healing, triumph and bleakness of ending. Our companion is dressed up in the atmospheric/post-black metal tones of Heretoir. The name (meaning “going an own way”) suggests the band’s devotion to individualistic discovery; so, you know Heretoir’s musical efforts buzz with emotive depth and a keen eye. From their debut full-length (2011’s Heretoir), we watch the band expanding these elements as they settled deeper into the modern metal side of the music scene. Heretoir’s latest effort (out in March) is The Circle, ambitiously addressing the cycle of life.
The Circle starts off with a fleeting introduction, “Alpha.” The tune serves as a passageway to some serene realm. Early on in “The White” calm, clean vocals rest against a tasteful batch of melodies. Drums dance us into other shades of the album, and sure enough, we get acquainted with harsh vocals that channel desperation. A quick shift in percussion brings us to another phase in our musical trek: It’s the guitars’ turn to shine on “Inhale.” Notes seem to sparkle under distant beams, and suddenly, our soundscape releases a sprinkling of Opeth-like sensibilities. A thumping bass sweeps up these remnants as it leads us into a dimmer zone.