Review: Hex A.D. “Funeral Tango for Gods & Men” [Fresh Tea]

Review: Hex A.D. “Funeral Tango for Gods & Men” [Fresh Tea]

- in Reviews

Covid-19 pandemic made a good favor for musical bands, giving them enough time to compose and to record more material. Hex A.D. always was an active band, and now, after 18 months of silence, here we are again with a brand new record from them. So, on November 12th of 2021 the latest opus of Hex A.D. Funeral Tango for Gods and Men was released through local underground label Fresh Tea Records. And no big surprises or changes here, we are honored with 48 minutes of classy and refined heavy metal.

Norwegian heavy/doomsters Hex A.D. love to experiment and to play with traditional themes making them slightly untraditional. That’s why they are also obsessed with improvisations – their live concerts are always full of unexpected turns and progressions, consistently transforming their own music and providing it with dozens of faces. This music is about classical attitude and pure devotion to mighty 1970s when progressive rock was in its prime. This tendency for improvisations often guides the bands of the most classical genres into more progressive path. These traits can be noticed on Funeral Tango for Gods and Men, when background sophistication and appetite for diversity works as a reliable indicator for good taste and justified craving for freedom.

You can’t say that Hex A.D. is a very popular band, but it is well respected and praised for high quality material and different performances. They combine classical elements with leisurely mood of epic doom and season it with some prog/art/blues rock flavor. And what’s even better, the songs are not similar to each other; every one of them has its own mood and complimentary elements – from funeral solemnity to playful party moves. Yes, there’s nothing new or intricately original in music of Hex A.D., but even the simplest compositions can’t be described as boring or monotonously insipid. And although Funeral Tango for Gods and Men is a serious and well-considered album, there’s a feeling that the musicians are at ease and enjoy every minute of their music, like it’s the most relaxing and calm-minding task ever. So, no tension, no complications, these Norwegian traditionalists know how to create harmony in everything.

The first composition “Naadegave” of the latest album from these Scandinavian doomsters really fits into the concept of doom metal – mournful, slow and painfully melodic, with symphonic veil of darkness. And the latest song “Positively Draconian” also has some mourning vibes, but all the symphonic aura is here replaced by calm and melancholic piano intro. It sounds almost like a ballad before the groovier sound emerges and once again brings familiar old school heavy metal spirit. “Hell hath no Fury” is similar in that perspective, almost a classical ballad with melancholic atmosphere, but with more positive attitude. “Got the Devil by the Tail” offers us a big blast from the 1970s and 80s, especially with the help of mellotron and moog from their keyboardist Mags Johansen.

This atmosphere from the past is recreated almost magically, and with bluesy background, it sounds almost meditatively serene. This feeling is very rare when you listen to traditional metal genres, because there’s no space for ambient monotony, drone drabness or occult rigidity. “Painting with Panic” is on the contrary active and mischievous, with some rock ‘n’ roll vibes. The sound is relatively clear despite some natural but deliberate contaminations to make it a little bit rawer and messier (“One Day of Wrath, another Gesture of Faith”). Everything here is so simple prima facie, but when you dig deeper, you understand that behind these primal forms lie the untrodden universes. The melodies are ordinary, but arrangements not quite so, the guitar riffs are primitive, but the solos are full of technical inconsistencies, the singing manner is traditional, but full of nifty emotions.

The album title and the artwork are a little bit surreal – the characters are absurd but lively, tinging the everyday life with a kind of expressive bizarreness. Colorful and surreal artworks were a real trend among prog. rock bands, so, there’s nothing strange about it. But still, these freakish traits are a good example of how complexed and profound can be the most classical music if you are ready to dive into the core of its sanity/insanity.

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