Review: Patria “Hexerei” [Dawnrazor Records / Ketzer Records / Helvete Records]

Review: Patria “Hexerei” [Dawnrazor Records / Ketzer Records / Helvete Records]

- in Reviews
Score 90%
90 %
User Rating : 4.9 (1 votes)

When I think of Brazilian black metal, or South American extreme metal general, I usually think of music that sounds extremely barbaric and primal. It almost seems to speak to the darkest depths of our consciousness. With bands like Sarcofago, Goatpenis, early Sepultura, Pentagram Chile, Goat Semen, Force of Darkness or Hades Archer, I would say that South America is probably one of my personal favorite regions for black and death metal. So as you may have guessed, the band that we are discussing today happens to be from the South American scene; more specifically Brazil. Today we’ll be tackling Patria, with their seventh full-length album Hexerei, released off of Ketzer records. Let’s see how it is, and maybe I can help you figure out whether that’s worth checking out.

So right off the bat I can say that the sound that you’re greeted with in the first track after the brief intro, “Worms of Light”, sounds more like a Darkthrone than a Sarcofago– it immediately blasts you with an ice cold blast of wind to your face and biting into your skin. It’s pretty raw, and the riffs are full of pure malevolence, as they chaotically burst into your ear-drums. Further in, it has some extremely infectious, yet again, evil sounding hooks- and this is what I noticed seemed to be a running theme throughout the album as we shall see. The vocals are sufficiently wretched sounding of course, shrieks that are full of malice. The echoing of the bass adds to the haunting tone of the track, and the drums kind of hit a really nice sweet spot both in the mixing of the album, and in the pace and tempo- there are a lot of blast beats there, but also slower sections that fit pretty well into the rest of the music, and although they aren’t lets say- part of some polyrhythmic jazz fusion progressive metal band in terms of intricacy, there are still some interesting patterns to pick up on when you do decide to tune in. But more than anything I get a lot more atmosphere from the sound. It’s not entirely what I expected obviously, but that’s not a bad thing.

But I wouldn’t say that they just entirely go the route of a cheap Darkthrone clone either- they definitely show a possible influence in that track, but immediately in the next track, and their single, “Archetypes”, they already change things up, with a much slower to mid-paced track, which has a very catchy melodic sound- almost with more of a traditional heavy metal feel in this particular track, while also having a slight feeling of melancholy for some reason, in my opinion. It picks up pace halfway through, with the same melody appearing as a motif in the background, which leads into a part that delves into damn-near doom metal territory in terms of tempo and heaviness. There’s much emotional range in that song, and it’s easily one of the best tracks on the album- but with everything else I think that’s a tough contender. I think you can already tell that I like this album, and I can’t really hide my bias- and I think the second and third tracks kind of encapsulate what I like about the album, it shows that they can do things really well with the standard template style of black metal, but they also are able to keep things really nice and fresh sounding too, by not sticking entirely to the established formula. I wouldn’t go as far as to say they are melodic black metal, even though they go pretty close into that territory, but they aren’t totally a standard black metal band either. They almost give me more Lord Belial or Dissection vibes at times, and sometimes they add some keyboards that really do a lot to add to the atmosphere. But then there’s parts in the album that actually do sound primitive, whenever the heavier tones come in. So really it just seems like it has a little bit of a well-rounded jack-of-all trades approach to black metal, which I kinda like.

Somehow I don’t think there was a single song on the album that didn’t have a riff that wasn’t just super memorable or catchy for some reason either- and I take that as a sign of really good songwriting. Like “Storm of Wilderness”, the eighth track on the album opens up with some of the heaviest riffs on the album, close to sounding death metally in tone, contrasted by the most grandiosely evil sounding keyboard in the background first of all, which is probably the closest they come to sounding like Dimmu Borgir on the album, and that alone makes it pretty memorable, but then it still has at least two infectious hooks that I counted that you can easily latch onto. A lot of the melodies throughout the album are incredibly catchy, and often very elegant sounding, which again really kind of contrasts with the harshness of other parts of the music. And that again brings up the discussion of range, and how great they are with that. “Consecration” begins in a very sinister fashion of course, being very harsh and fast sounding, almost giving you this feeling of being a diabolical necromancer summoning the souls of the dead, but it also has slower melodic hooks that latch onto you & keyboards that almost carry a feeling of… I want to say sentimentality with them- and the chorus is just the harsh vocals and a serene, almost dreamy sounding keyboard. And it’s not really even just the music that has range either, the vocalist has quite a bit of range as well, like at times he might use a maddened, anguished sounding wail, and there’s at least one part where he uses almost a barbaric sounding shout if I remember correctly.

All of these aspects of the album I would say definitely make the album feel original, and I have the impression that the band definitely knows what they’re doing in terms of musicianship at this point for sure, and I really like what they have done on this album. So I would probably have to give this a 9/10. I just think that it’s very well rounded in style, while it doesn’t go super far into left field, it’s not very predictable either, and the songwriting to me is superb. I would definitely recommend this if you’re into black metal, especially if you like unholy trinity era Darkthrone, Lord Belial, Dissection or even perhaps a bit of Burzum. The only place I have really been able to find physical material for this album so far is on Ketzer records, but they have other material from the rest of their catalog on Aisamerch, Immortal Frost Productions and Soulseller Records. But until next time, I wish you many cheers and eternal hails!

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