HFTSSo cutting your stomach open and performing ritual suicide for the sky! Well it’s an interesting name adopted by this duo from Austria (and there are already four called Seppuku) so what of the actual music on this debut album? Well the pair who comprise of M.S. who plays everything and J.J. who verses and sings are also in the likes of Bifrost, Karg and Schattenlicht so if you know these groups you will be aware that this has blackened leanings. However black metal is not what it was and has morphed into many different directions of late and HFTS are no exception to the rule and are no orthodox group. What we have here is ambient, shoegaze and Indie orientated post black metal so if that appeals read on if not wave your spiked gauntlet at the gods and curse them, it might be wise to move on muttering the words “hipster BM under your breath.”

Of course nobody is likely to have done that as after all we are all open minded around these parts and it’s time to settle back and see what these five long tracks have in store for us.

Mellow guitar and the sound of rain take us atmospherically into ‘Lvngs Filled With Water’ they obviously like quirky titles. Things pick up and melodic riffs are thicker although fairly slow paced. Singer J.J. takes it further from a blackened remit really as his vocals are higher pitched and quite course. Perhaps what you would expect in a more core style band. Those glistening Indie guitars suddenly unravel and we are as far as the music is concerned in that place forged by the likes of Alcest, Austere, Lantlos et al. The music does suddenly drive away and then settles and it is evident that it is going to carry on with a juxtaposition of reflective moody parts and sudden bursts of speed. Musically I like it but am not sold on the vocals they are just a bit too (for want of a better word) squawky for comfort.

Tracks are fairly lengthy and well-constructed hitting at the 7-8 minute mark. The lush acoustic jangling guitar tones of ‘02:19 AM, Psychosis’ set things up for a strident yell and a bit of a fury maybe in the mood of someone pissed off at not being able to sleep. Some clean vocals are an idea but not really strong enough as my attention is left with the guitar fronds taking right back to the 80’s and the music I grew up listening to. At full throttle this does take your head off and that is why you would not discount it as being a form of ‘blackened metal’ and I have the feeling this would be pretty potent live.

This is quite an enthralling trip and one that you can lose yourself in. Emotion is present in the music itself but on the whole the gripe is again the vocals which are not only abrasive but quite one dimensional and although as the track states have me admirably going to ‘Drown In My Nihilism’ don’t convey the expressive tones I would normally expect in this type of music.

(6.5/10 Pete Woods)