Sutekh Hexen, Larvae Gatefold LP/CD

The past year has been big for Sutekh Hexen. 2011 saw several releases, including the full-length Luciform, which turned out to be one of the major accomplishments of the year. Numerous lives dates on the West Coast solidified the band as a force to be reckoned with.  Indeed, there is an increasing amount of talk about Sutekh Hexen in underground circles - on the internet and in real life. And while they are often spoken of in terms of black noise - an appropriate and fitting description - the forthcoming album Larvae, due out on February 21st on Handmade Birds,  proves that there is more to the band than black noise would necessarily imply.

Black metal and noise are certainly major contributors to Sutekh Hexen's overall sound, and this album showcases marvelously those parts of the Sutekh Hexen dynamic. Scott Miller's vocals (with significant and awesome contributions from Dwid Hellion and Thomas Rodahl Dedekam) are intense, caustic, and  guttural, aptly communicating the dreary, hellish, blakkened nature of this music. Noise-amped drones, heavily-distorted guitars, field recordings and junk-maneuvers lend a heaviness that previous Sutekh Hexen recordings have touched on, but never quite reached. They have raised the bar, no doubt.

But it's on the final track, "Let There Be Light," that the more subtle, textural nature of Sutekh Hexen summons forth the true dread of this recording. An acoustic guitar (via new member Lee Camfield) and whispered vocals float over a layer of hissing, muted noise, to lower us into the depths. But we are not allowed to rest - at least not for long. We hit bottom only to be ultimately raised up by the final five minutes of the track (and album), drenched in waves of distortion, feedback and crude sweat.

This is the sound of reconciliation and also the sound of violent transgressions. This is the sound of release.

This is the sound of never coming back.

I thought Sutekh Hexen had reached their peak with Luciform. I was quite wrong. Larvae is very real, in the Lacanian sense that this is a true event, and it remains to be seen just how much this band can accomplish.

The artwork was conceived, birthed and presented by Kevin Gan Yuen and Dwid Hellion, and houses this gentle chaotic massacre well. Preorders will be up in one week, and the album will be released on February 21st via Handmade Birds. Digipack CD and a special edition, colored gatefold vinyl (100 on clear with pink splatter, 200 on black). 

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