The new HEXVESSEL single ‘Ring’ is pure Black Metal!


Hexvessel’s second single, Ring, from new album Polar Veil, is an eerie, intense, lo-fi slab of beautiful Black Metal. From Kvohst’s past in Norwegian Black Metal bands Dødheimsgard and Code comes the storms as he summons iceberg size riffs and nightmarish, flesh-crawling choirs calling out from the dark. Ring is a primitive avalanche of authentic Black Metal.

Singer/songwriter Kvohst explains that: “With this song Ring, a few influential albums come to mind, like the evil riffs of Cathedral’s “Forest of Equilibrium”, The splendour and rage of Darkthrone’s “A Blaze In The Northern Sky”,  The oppressive gloom and beauty of Chelsea Wolfe’s “Hiss Spun” and with the guest solo by Nameless Void from Negative Plane, their grandiose but necrotic “Stained Glass Revelations” record dropped like a black pearl into my abyss. Ring is about being lost and found in darkness. It is a nocturne. Darkness on a symbolic level. Threatening, unpredictable landscapes of life and death.” 

Watch Hexvessel’s new video Ring here:

Hexvessel’s sixth album, Polar Veil, is a cold, metallic hymn to the Sub Arctic North. Haunted by primal forest spirits, Mat “Kvohst” McNerney summons the ghosts of his past in a jaw-dropping, unheard-of rebirth of style and sound. At once unmistakably Hexvessel, Polar Veil is also steeped in the nocturnal atmosphere of McNerney’s past, churned in the cauldron of Black Metal, Ritual Folk Psychedelia and Doom Rock, and echoing with shivering Gothic undertones.

From their inception in 2009, Hexvessel, created by Mat McNerney as what he described to Decibel Magazine as “a free spiritual journey and a musical odyssey with no boundaries”, have captivated audiences and listeners with their evolution. 

Holed up in a home-made studio in his log cabin during the winter of 2022, McNerney drew on all the fundamental elements of his music career as a shamanic shapeshifter, with only the isolation of nature’s solitude as inspiration. Painting an aura with Polar Veil which resonates with solitary reflection and themes of personal spiritual transcendence, Hexvessel’s new album is a bold statement from an artist who continues to reinvent and explore nature mysticism through music.

“Nature represents freedom, darkness and the call of the wild. Black Metal has always been at the borders of my sound and playing, at the heart of everything I do. Tradition, nature, ritual, mythology, mysticism and philosophy, along with clashing and jarring chords have always been synonymous with Hexvessel. It was natural with Polar Veil, finally now as we reach the zenith of the journey, that these influences surface to the human ear, and with the freezing cold guitar sound that the climate here demands.”

A track such as Crepuscular Creatures, with unhinged, discordant guitar chords, as bassist Ville Hakonen’s hand snakes up and down the frets, is at the more avant-garde end of the album. Long term drummer Jukka Rämänen thundering the toms like never before, as McNerney croons Scott Walker-esque lyrics, somewhere between Edith Södergran and Ted Hughes

Whereas Listen To The River with its ominous M.R James/Folk Horror lyrics of perilous environmental warning, featuring Ben Chisholm main collaborator and multi-instrumentalist with Chelsea Wolfe on lush, haunting keys and strings, could have appeared on Hexvessel’s sophomore album No Holier Temple, albeit with a sound of that era, progressing out of Folk. 

Polar Veil features Nameless Void from Negative Plane, performing the guitar solo on the song Ring and on Older Than The GodsOkoi from Bølzer provides guest vocals. At first an unlikely partnership but one that makes total sense as the album deepens, and threads can be drawn that reveal the place Polar Veil is coming from. 

On the process of recording “Polar Veil”, McNerney explains: “I built a studio at home in the log hut on our field, surrounded by large trees, called Pine Hill, to escape from everything and everyone. Polar Veil is what a spiritual home sounds like.” 

Hexvessel: Older Than The Gods (Official music video)

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