Häxanu is a black metal band, helmed by multi-musician Alex Poole (Gardsghastr, Chaos Moon, Guðveiki, Raingarë, KRIEG, SKÀPHE, etc.) and vocalist L.C.. There are many reasons why Alex Poole is considered as one of the more prolific musicians in the U.S. underground black metal scene. Despite the similarities between him and Swedish multi-instrumentalist Swartadapuz, who is also involved in many side project bands such as Bekëth Nexëhmü, Gardsghastr, Greve, Muvitium and Tyranni, ‘Snare of All Salvation‘ is the first album by this atmospheric/ambient black metal band and displays the fine talents of this inventive musician. In the previous year Alex Poole disclosed his passion for black metal music. His previous work on the debut album of Gardsghastr, ‘Slit Throat Requiem’ and Chaos Moon‘s ‘Eschaton’ was much appreciated.
‘Snare of All Salvation’ is slightly different in direction from the bands which I have mentioned. However, the focus on the debut is based on repetitive riffs.
In addition, the synth has a minimalistic effect on the music in general. The album opens with an ambient synth that captures the mood of the atmospheric soundscapes and builds up for the following track ‘Materia Prima‘. The guitars and drums are woven into the traditional style of black metal, bringing you the charm of frigid tremolo riffs and unsteady tempos.
Häxanu‘s musical style is very similar to the Scandinavian black metal acts. Alex Poole combines the fast tempo of the drums while focusing on the charm of the hypnotizing riffs. Stylistically, Häxanu is structured upon aggression. The drumming performance enhances the music and it provides a boost in energy. Most of the tracks on the album begin in a ferocious tempo. Therefore, the focus here is more weighted with rapid blast beats. The album also has a melodic sensibility, paired with rhythm guitars and creative synth arrangements. On other tracks, Häxanu makes a perfect balance between the rhythm guitar and melodies. With the echoed resonance of the tremolo riffs and emotional melodies, Alex Poole proves that he’s certainly a talented artist. Lyrically, the themes of the debut album are based on occultism, mysticism and alchemy. For example, the third track ‘Sulfur, Salt, Mercury’ has a more atmospheric feel to it.
‘Snare of All Salvation’ includes many melodic moments that will please the fans of melodic black metal. On the third track Häxanu sets up a fast tempo to create gloomy passages with the burst of the blast beats and droning tremolo riffs. Each track seems to have its own memorable moments, while at times the music sounds aggressive and drenched in gloomy textures. ‘Smaragdina‘ features some catchy, ambient passages where the beautiful texturing of the synth in the song structure is impressively done. The tremolos are well performed and emit dark feelings throughout the album. When it comes to variations, the debut feels limited in providing any musical ornamentation, but there are certain elements that give the songs a mysterious aura.
While the guitars are arranged with elegant tremolo pickings and delicate melodies, achieved through a noticeable balance, ‘Anima Mundi’ is but one example that demonstrates the strength of weaving those tremolo pickings and reveals an impressive grade of innovation. Even the synth on this track shimmers prominently, whilst the drums maintain the flow of the track and frequently shift from mid-tempo to blast beats. While this track might be a little bit more varied than the previous tracks, Häxanu brings many pleasing moments to it. The catchy range of the synth section is boosted with a sizeable amount of mystical atmosphere. Even the epic final title track begins in the same fashion.
Overall the textured tremolos and the sharp piercing vocalization transform this song into an atmospheric experience. Layered by the shimmering synth and slow guitar chords, it adds a unique element. Compared with the duration of the album that clocks at forty-four minutes, the final track is extended to 17 minutes full of epic proportions. ‘Snare of All Salvation’ exceeded my humble expectations and the debut is full of mesmerizing moments of ghastly screeches, fast tempos, and ambient synth work.
Alex Poole once again offers another dark and atmospheric, sonic black metal piece of art. If you have enjoyed his collaborative work on Gardsghastr and Chaos Moon, then you will most likely embrace the depth of his latest craft. The album features six tracks that will transport you to a far away, obscure realm of mystical landscapes. The debut album was recently released on March 25th via Amor Fati Productions.
Release Date: March 25th, 2020
Label: Amor Fati Productions
- The Pale
- Materia Prima
- Sulfur, Salt, Mercury
- Anima Mundi
- Snare of All Salvation