I always keep an ear out for anything involving instrumentalist Alex Poole as it tends to be interesting and a damn good listen. His blackened assault on things often takes on a psychedelic hue and throws the listener down a massive vortex of chaos and that’s the way we like things around here. Poole is probably best known for playing guitar in long serving USBM horde Krieg. Apart from split EP’s though they seem to have had little time for putting together much in the way of a new album since 2014’s excellent ‘Transient’. The reason is pretty much well documented in extreme exasperation by band leader N. Jameson stuck in a dead-end job dealing with every flotsam and jetsam of life and dereliction that walks through his door in a world literally gone mad. Thankfully Poole has been keeping us entertained through various projects such as Skaphe, Chaos Moon, Entheogen & Ringare to name just a few. Häxanu is an entirely new endeavour that sees him playing everything accompanied by the vocal talents of mysterious L.C.
With alchemy and the building of The Tower Of Babel at narrative heart, there is no denying he has constructed a monolithic edifice here. ‘The Pale’ sees wind rushing at the very peak of his lofty construct before 1st track proper ‘Materia Prima’ seeps in. From there on in this is a dizzying ride once the fast and furious tremolo cleave and massive drum battery hone in and it pretty much devours all in its path in a fast flurrying assault. Once you get past the fact that the production here is fantastic and really as solid as one could hope for with every facet superbly rendered and mighty you can get to grips with L.C.’s contribution. It’s a perfect match to the musical tour-de-force, bloodthirsty and raw with the occasional guttural belch forced out with distempered gravitas. It’s a windswept tempest, listen out for some very subtle keyboards amidst the driving dense fury and hang on for dear life. Bouncing into ‘Sulfur, Salt, Mercury’ it’s not long before gold is fathomed from mercurial elements and that black psychedelic madness reigns supreme on another mad dervish of a ride. This derives back to the olden ways of doing things when black metal was dangerous and savage. There’s no hint of post waft here and the only thing thrusting it into the new flesh of the beast is that lofty sound. The tabula ‘Smaragdina’ is consulted and the rage has simply not stopped yet and is at its most explosive as like a mad scientist all manner of walloping crashes and mental guitar convulses are applied to the template. Throughout the vocals come in from all sides howling and crazed but wait, a sudden downing of tools brings arcane gothic grandeur and mysterious atmospheres. The harmonies and melody have not been forsaken for a second despite the speed of it all but this gives life to something else before it is abruptly swept aside once more by the pulverising primal forces. Tracks have been kept at a sensible length and you can just about keep up with it all as L.C. finds gold barking out the word “salvation” amidst the tumbling tornado of ‘Anima Mundi.’
The duo have left it for the conclusion and title track to crown the summit with a 17 minute finale that combines the swaggering speed with glistening passages of Nephilimesque lushness. But it is very important not to just skip to this, the laborious and painstaking work to get to the treasure must be delved in as a whole otherwise instead of gold an important ingredient will be missed and you will be left with a lump of coal. Seriously though this is a fantastic album and one in an increased landscape of blackened isolation really sticks out and deserves to be heard and treasured for times to come, no matter how uncertain they seem to be right now.
(9/10 Pete Woods)