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4 stars Hexvessel doesn't seem to well known at all here! Very surprising. Anyway, this is a very interesting album. Very interesting blend of folk, psychedelic and prog. At times it reminds me of Comus (not as dark and 'furious' though). The most fascinating thing about this album to me is the atmosphere it creates. Yes it can remind you of a few 70's bands but the album feels very fresh to me overall. The manner in which the exotic instruments (flute, mandolin, harp, clarinet, violin etc.) are used in pure genius. Not overdone. They're used in short bursts (very similar to the way these instruments are used in Comus's First Utterance). Another plus point is the weird eerie sounding chords and the way those dark, eerie moments seamlessly flow into epic beautiful moments! Feels very natural. I don't want to describe the album anymore. No track by track review. I've just given a feel of what to expect from this album. Cheers!
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Posted Thursday, July 31, 2014 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars "No Holier Temple" represents a major step forward for Matt McNerney's HEXVESSEL relative to their debut. The spoken sections are much terser, and the songs are more varied, from brooding pop to heavy rock to adventurous prog epics, all delivered with the synergy of shared ritual, and an underlying folk sensibility. The band clearly having gelled markedly in just a couple of years.

While recollections of DAVID SYLVIAN during his MARK ISHAM collaborations ("Woods to Conjure") , DEAD CAN DANCE medieval balladry ("Letter in Birch Bark"), BLACK SABBATH doom meets ZOMBIES harmonics ("His Portal Tomb"), CURRENT 93 vigilance ("Are You Coniferous"), and the mysticism of a heavily sedated COMUS ("Sacred Marriage", perhaps the standout track here) will gratify many, the band synergy is its main calling card, expressed through the haunting compositions and arrangements that not only set the mood but dwell within it. Even the TENHI-like "Unseen Sun" at protracted 13 minutes, at least confirms that the group won't abandon its hallowed and cherished melancholy for an instant.

"Neo folk" music has a somewhat earned reputation of being quite the opposite of warm and fuzzy, but as much as it can, "No Holier Temple", opens the circle to accommodate those who pray for transformative modern prog folk. Highly recommended.

Report this review (#1781177)
Posted Monday, September 11, 2017 | Review Permalink

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