Forlesen – Hierophant Violent (Hypnotic Dirge Records, 18 April 2020)
Well, seems like it’s about time to check in on what’s happening with our northern neighbors at Hypnotic Dirge. Here’s a new record they came out with within the past month — and if their history of quality releases wasn’t enough to recommend checking it out, surely that gorgeous artwork (produced by Benjamin A. Vierling) will draw you right in.
It turns out Hierophant Violent is the debut offering from a new ensemble from the San Francisco Bay area, consisting of members who’ve worked in various other local groups — such as Botanist, Lotus Thief, and Kayo Dot.
The album includes a total of two tracks, each right around eighteen minutes in length, and each one is practically a mirror image of the other in terms of overall mood and vibe.
“Following Light,” chanty and droney, has an aura of mysticism. It takes practically seven whole minutes to really start ramping up, but then the layers of drone notes and crashing cymbals very quickly build to an almost overwhelming din, only to subside just as quickly. From there, proceeding gently with soft melodic vocals, more and more layers again start to build up like piles of soft cozy blankets, but as they do so we find more layers of vocals as well, some harmonized parts but also a disturbed howling coming from somewhere extremely far away (or perhaps from very deep within…).
On the other hand, “Nightbridge” is much more intense throughout, much more guitar-centered, and much darker. While the song starts out kind of psychedelic-flavored in a bad-trip-flashback way, soon a series of throbbing percussive explosions usher in an epic guitar and choral-vocal section; as this undergoes myriad progressions and variations, it ultimately leads into an atmospheric-black-metal-flavored excursion that continues throughout the remainder of our journey.
This is not music that will appeal to the impatient, but those willing to invest a bit of time and attention will likely find the trip Forlesen leads them on to be a rewarding one, indeed.
Head on over to the Hypnotic Dirge Bandcamp page for NYP downloads of Hierophant Violent in addition to various physical editions as well as a rather extensive merch bundle!
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