Black Metal can often be a genre that is derided from the outside, I mean how best to prepare myself for this review? Do I listen to something kvlt and true? Do I make a crack about corpse paint and church burning or, Satan forbid, actually concentrate on the music? Fortunately Hyadningar make life easier in that respect, hailing from France as opposed to the grim hot bed of Norway, having an inlay sleeve where they look like normal blokes and by playing a hybrid of Doom laden Black Metal that has more to offer than the like of, say Marduk, and la lack of spiky armbands and forest photography.
‘The Weak Creation’ is their second full length disc after the well received ‘Imminent Useless Soul’ album back in 2006. What it shows is that the icy cold winds can blast across France just as well as their Nordic companions. Touted by themselves as playing ‘Epic and Sick Black Metal’ this album comprises of 8 tracks of complex and raw music that calls to mind influences such as legends Burzum and the more modern masters of the genre Dimmu Borgir.
As with most Black Metal releases (including their last one) the production is a little weak and thin, the music at times cries out for the kind of bottom end that the doom elements would naturally lean towards and as such the album loses power in a haze of intricately picked guitar and throat wrenching vocals. However that is not to say that the music itself is poor. Far from it in fact; this is a progressive release which shows deft complex touches of folk, classical and doom to accentuate rather than distill the music being played.
The band pull no punches and they tear straight into ‘The Beast Within’ with no pretensions, just a howling scream from vocalist Marquis (also of Bethlehem, Ataraxie and Funeralium) over a cleanly picked challenging guitar sound that is heady and intoxicating. The song structures on ‘The Weak Creation’ are frenetic and often seem completely chaotic. In the course of just over an hour they veer from the roar of blast beats to the harmony of picked melody whilst Marquis’ tortured vocals ranges from a full blown throat ripping scream to a croaking whispered spoken word.
It is a heady mix and quite often you are left reeling by the complexity of it all. ‘Haven of Death’ opens with a waltz like tempo that can leave you wondering if you have been rendered punch drunk by the mix of what has gone before, but fortunately the band have the ability to write riffs that you can head bang along to as well as cause you to thrash about in the pit.
The title track itself has some stand out vocals that complement the relentless double bass and the rhythmic chanting adds a haunting atmosphere that matches the candles, church and angel’s motif on the album art and the mournful lyrics. Overall the album is strong, although on first listen its multiple layers many not stand out quite so strongly and it can feel like a lot of hard work, however you have to applaud a band that have the tenacity to push the boundaries of a genre that often prides itself for its purest beliefs.
Scribed by: Mark Hunt-Bryden