HEXETANZ
The Sabbat Comes Softly
(The Fossil Dungeon - limited edition of 500 Ė vinyl)
~reviewed by Mick Mercer

Itís so long since I have listened to some vinyl that I first had to crack open the lid to the record player, as there was candle wax all down the front, which can serve as a lesson to us all. When I did then take out the single itís on that seriously heavyweight vinyl which is close in density of acetates. Scary!

Hexetanz is a collaboration between members of The Soil Bleeds Black and Psychonaut 75 combine to bring you what they believe to be an expression of mythic sorcerous and witchcraft-related images steeped in true medieval mystery and creepiness, so you probably already have a basic idea of what this is going to sound like. Bleak, windblown atmospherics are enlivened by less than melodic singing, and an atmosphere designed to curdle the stomach lining settles everywhere. 

Funnily enough, Iíd just finished watching an appallingly cheap film about some Welsh pagan lunatic who wanted to re-take the country and instil in it once again the original culture. This necessitated human sacrifice and lots of unconvincing people done up in body paint looking like Burning Man participants. Stranger still, they got away with their murders and continued on their merry way of siring special children to eventually meet their doom in rites of degradation. Ah well, win some, lose some.

ĎThe Sabbathí is echoes, shadows, impressively vocal rasping about spirits and going along splendidly when a funny kink in the vinyl kicked in and became unintentionally extra-dramatic, until I realised the stylus needed moving. They stick to a basic pattern rather than any actual rhythm, and it isnít harsh like ear-pounding ambient, but selective and illustrative. It also isnít pleasant. 

Forget Burning Man and think Wicker Man, as ĎCharivarií has that queasiness shot through it, producing a cross between a madrigal of menace and nightmares over playing the recorder in music lessons at junior school.

On the second side they opt for basic samples and curiously swelling mood music, after which they relent and introduce more conventional rhythm, plus fairly winsome vocals, but the overall impression remains one of tough, sparse sounds. Itís a fairly barren experience and wholly convincing, but itís definitely an acquired taste.

THE SABBATH COMES SOFTLY
CHARIVARI
OSCULUM INFAME
ASMODEUS RISE

The Soil Bleeds Black  http://www.erosl.com/tsbb
Psyconaut 75 Ė http://www.infernalhorde.com/psychonaut
The Fossil Dungeon  http://www.erols.com/tsbb/fdungeon 
 

02/10/03