Aug 2022 29

Album CoverHadewych
Album: Mes
Category: Experimental / Industrial / Ambient
Label: Tartarus Records
Release Date: 2022-01-14


Following 2018’s Wÿding, the texture-jockeys of Hadewych return with a spiritual successor to the 2014 Nu EP. Channeling bits of Laibach and Atrium Carceri in its sonically diverse numbers, it’s clear out of the gate that Mes is not an album designed to effortlessly win over casual listeners. Long vistas of tremulous suspense build and then give way to bludgeoning bass and baritone guitar as pugilistic as the very best and most brutal of Swans. The choice procurement and use of unorthodox textures, as well as diverse instrumentation, reflects the thoughtful attention paid to the sensuous qualities of each track. However, for all the pure-hearted art put into the minutiae, Hadewych, like others in the more experimental field, seems to beg the question, who is art ultimately for? And is it more egocentric for a listener to expect to be pandered to, or for an artist to pander to themselves? Without moralizing the matter, Mes suggests the primary function is the artist’s own creative recompense, and this does feel evident throughout much of the album.

However, despite this ostensible artistic indulgence, Mes does begin to shine more brightly for the listener in “Het Ware Nader (Final Forest),” a 17-minute epic that’s more drone and doom flavored. Textures are pared back a little more with more harmony bleeding through to symphonic effect. The choral vocals in it achieve a properly majestic, yet still inhuman effect, while the progression thereunder is the most pleasant piece of the album, eventually devolving back into Norwegian narration. Despite whatever philosophical bent the band or listener cleaves to, Hadewych has crafted a deliberate and tightly woven composition with no shortage of attention to detail. One just wonders what occasions exist for this dimorphic hybrid of industrial and ambience – easy listening it is most definitely not.
Track list:

  1. Hadewych III – Onolatrie
  2. Ik Ben Eens Mes
  3. Het Ware Nader (Final Forest)

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Tartarus Records
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Colin Andrew MacDougall (VexationsandtheVile)

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