Norwegian sludge doom duo Hymn first came to my attention on their 2017 effort Perish, and my attention was rapt by their atmospheric and thunderous take on the style. Their newest effort, Breach Us is out now through Fysisk Format and will look to follow up the rumbling glory of their debut.
The opening title track pays direct homage to the crushing Rise from Perish, with the same tar thick guitar tone layering crushing riff upon devastating low end. Hymn are a band that delight in the moulding and the shaping of a riff from the most primeval of materials, and Breach Us immediately attaches itself to that place inside us that craves the suffocating weight of the primal. The cathartic roar of Exit Through Fire is immensely gratifying, especially around halfway when these dense grinding riffs come burning through. Hymn sound like Neurosis if Neurosis had maintained a more visceral edge to them. The murky, crawling stomp as it comes to a close is almost unbearably good.
rooted firmly in the primal sludge doom of their debut, but they show here a penchant for exploring beyond those frontiers…
What Hymn aren’t is one dimensional however. The chugging intro to Crimson brings an awareness of the importance of this, as it feels like a lost Mastodon track from the earliest of days. The cathartic roar becomes a haunting power croon and the band begin to delve into a more psychedelic territory, assisted by a guest spot from Kongh’s David Johansson. That exploration of sound continues into the more experimental final track Can I Carry You? where, accompanied by Guro Skumsnes Moe from noise rockers MoE, Hymn‘s riff driven thunder meets eerie refrains and churning hypnotic noise. The unsettling, almost siren like closing minutes will stay with you for a while.
Breach Us is both an evolution and a retreading of familiar territory for Hymn. The base of the record is rooted firmly in the primal sludge doom of their debut, but they show here a penchant for exploring beyond those frontiers. Sure, they don’t quite leave their home completely but they have the map out and are planning the trip. I look forward to where they will go from here, because it will be a journey worth tracking.
Scribed by: Sandy Williamson