Review: Sutekh Hexen – Monument Of Decay

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They have been welcomed into my consciousness after a while. Sutekh Hexen, they call themselves. Constituting the best of two worlds, combining the essence of black metal – with droniness all entangled into the noisy fervor of noise itself. Wander into the esoteric, the blackness and the void between heaven and earth. A lone wind whispering, a mountain to be climbed until darkness is met on the other side. In all honesty, there might’ve been some confusion on my side regarding this group. But it is all cleared out now, and I anticipated this release a while ago, whilst Beläten brought it out from his Nordic chamber – together with a simultaneous release by Black Horizons. Just to make things clear; we’re focusing on the Beläten-released cassettes. Obviously, Invisible Guy was too unimportant in the first place, as we gained nothing in the lottery that is premieres. With that in mind, it will not affect the review as such. Honesty is our approach, and it will ultimately be our strength. Note that Patricia Cram‘s (editor of Vial Magazine) photography is the artwork. The mastering was done by James Plotkin.

Hauntingly intimate and the esoteric“, is a rather short nudge in the direction that “Lastness” takes, the first song on this release. Which is an undeservingly short description of such a multitude of feelings being thrown into your direction, contradictory at that. Freidrich Nietszche would’ve been proud if he’d ever gone on a musical crusade against Christianity as Sutekh Hexen aspire to, but in whatever form it might’ve manifested itself – in his case, the philosophical. Even though it is held dearly over here, the sound is unmistakably raw and present. Yet, decrepit wave of sounds make their way into our ears. Atmospheric rhythms tune in and out throughout, as the intensity of sound weakens to the point of leaving our wondrous mind in a static and brooding state. Hear the gong-gong roar and the death-rattle of an undying monk, as his controllable shrieks puts his unbearable agony into the sound-scape – shaping winds with his bare vocal chords, abruptly changing the tone of the landscape of sound –  killing off the listener’s awfully delightful experience so far. If you’re spiritualistic to an extent, the infectious and lurking feeling of a satanic wind might blow over into your mind. Deaden drums echo into the magnificent feeling of glittering snow and cold that manifests itself into the core of the song itself. Everything is rotten, but in a nostalgic way that is more effective to display – then to be overtly clear with the intentions of the music at hand. Sublimity is the key, simplicity can be found in differentiating strokes of crackling industrialized noises, as a moody swing of base roughens up your subconscious. Externally, you’re not moving an inch whilst listening to it. An out-of-body experience might simply be the descriptive ending of the track at hand, forcing your body – and specifically your mind – to accept the vicious intentions of the blackened Templars. Invert everything you’d ever know, then you might know what is going on. An inversion of values, a total round-up of values in an almost mythical – but musical way. Though “D. Sled” is credited for the “exorcism“, I don’t know where credit is due, but he does a fantastic job. Making it menacingly enough. Lee Camfield (formerly in Sutekh Hexen), also helped with tape-manipulation and percussion.

Get a hold of yourself, because of; total apathy. “…Of Emanation” swirls you into the whirlwind of abandonment. A super-charged and rowdy noise-cavalcade trapezes the tempo up, just to swing you into the black metal territory of blast beats and what not. A knackered growling that constantly fades in and out of the atmosphere, laden for you to be excavated from your dug-in shelter that you’ve been hiding in. The gurgling sounds of distortion, the menacing banshee-like howls that emanate from this chaotic environment is simply staggering. As if this would have any symbolic value, but this song has the same length as the first one. 5:02 is a long time to endure such an assault on your brain, likewise on your fragile mind. If you transform it into history, 502 as a date is a rather dystopic past. Mazdak the Persian prophet decides that “private property” is the source of all evil, the Bulgars ravage Thrace – a historical geographical area, now bordering on Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey. It could just be a coincidence, but a lot of historic events that have to do with evil, wars, plundering and such – can be found in retrospect, in year 502. Anyway, let’s get back to what we have at hand. The least you could say about this track is that it’s not forgettable, there are certain nuances that need to be taken out of the context itself. A certain linear path is followed by a non-linear one, from grizzly growling – fading out into oblivion – to a more dampened sound-scape. From a brewing storm beneath, putting everything else to sleep that it touches, to simply be thrown out into the open – once again. The atmospheric content, black metal effigy and the noisiness that are combined on different occasions, make up for a very diverse and enjoyable experience. With wide-open eyes (and ears), it’s frightful to take everything into account, as you try to comprehend what just hit you. A bomb could go off and it would be nothing by comparison. Sonically, this is superb and well-thought out. In addition to this, one must admire the work that Th. Tot (Thomas Ekelund) put into it. It’s atmospheric as hell (no pun intended).

Dhumavati’s Hunger“, English translation of the original title: “धूमवती बुभुक्षा” – is the third track on this release. A depraved voice, stepping into a muddy mess filled with noise, sharply tightened distortion that roams all over the atmosphere. This is a really harsh and combative field of totally skewered incantations. As if the white noise is speaking to you through glimpses of electric currents, filtered through immense distortion. It’s a seizure-inducing hellhole that spews out the vilest harsh musical indentation you’d ever hear. Flowing perfectly fine in utter harmony, if you remove the horrific flashbacks that is channeled by crunching, abominable fettered sounds clinging to the depressing hallways of an abandoned prison. Do I need to remind you that “Dhumavati” actually is the Hindu god of Death? As if that reminder wouldn’t make things a little bit more unpleasant. Her name literally means “the smoky one“. When it comes to Hinduism as such, she’s tethered to things that are considered inauspicious and unattractive in that religion. No wonder, things get even more unsettling when you know the meaning behind it. Here’s a track where they utilize everything they can pluck from blackened noise, as everything harkens back to that specific genre. Unabashedly proud to be droning out from these landscapes of grinding harsh noise. It’s interesting to find the amount of sheer terror they can bring upon you in a single stroke, as you lay down to listen and get your system running – as blood pumps faster and the noises stress you out. Terrible feelings grow inside of you like the most horrible disease, and the only time you shake it off is when you realize what finally hit you. It is not a pleasant feeling, because it’s rather unsettling to say the least. But when it manages to provoke such feelings, it should be considered to be a good track at that. Even though noise is not a favorite thing to listen to, it’s basically a destructive force you must at least have  reckoned. Being positively surprised about something like this is a huge plus for them, because Sutekh Hexen show they have the skills to pull anything off – also blackened/harsh noise. I say: “na jaayate’ mriyate’ vaa kadaachin naayam bhuthva bhavithaa na bhooyah: ajo nithyah saasvato’yam puraano na hanyate’ hanyamaane’ sareere'”

Whilst the last track has the Persian word “ل خــعــه “, which literally means “Dakhma” – which means “Cheel Gaar” in Hindi, or “Tower Of Silence” in English. It’s a structure used for Zoroastrians for exposure of their dead, Sutekh Hexen has something else planned for us. Together with the assistance of Th. Tot once again, and Lee Camfield, they travel into a hyperbolic and stingy atmosphere. A constant bleep is shredding your eardrums as the beckoning is coming – in the shape of distorted percussion. Gallant visions form themselves as the more rhythmic synthesizers prance into the sound-scape, whilst a charred voice reaches its climax when the punctuating sound of noise is swooshing into the mix. Luminescent and turbulent fractions of the sound move together to metamorphose into a whispering voice, as the generalized sound-scape reminds you of so much more on this release. It covers all the bases, so to say. Unfortunately, there’s not much more to say about this. I’ve been replaying this song continually for the past two hours, as I sit down to write something more about it. There are a lot more things happening around you as you fade into the atmosphere yourself. It feels like you’re a part of this. But words have no meaning anymore, so here is where it ends. Sutekh Hexen is an interesting group which you should look into, especially their older material – if you want to understand more. There are a lot of things to be understood, but the less you do understand it, the more mystical everything seems to be. That is enough for me, at least. Buy the release itself from either Black Horizons (as vinyl), or Beläten as a double-cassette. Listen to and stream it down below to make up your own mind.

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