Album Review: Hessian – Mercenary Retrograde (Urtod Void/Blasphlegmy Records)

The Portland, Maine-based heavy metal band, Hessian will release their new album Mercenary Retrograde on September 14th 2018 via Urtod Void and Blasphlegmy Records.

Mastermind Angus McFarland oversaw every stage, from sitting at the kitchen counter studying heavy metal harmonies of “the Old Ones of heavy metal” to touring nationally and playing festivals in Sweden and the UK. After a complete upheaval in lineup, Hessian are now ready with their second album Mercenary Retrograde – a wholly apt name. Angus has called up some rock n’ roll soldiers to aid him, including Greg Souza, Mike Pearce, and Zöey Haab.

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The rock stylings of Hessian will be instantly familiar to fans of Thin Lizzy and Blue Öyster Cult. It’s uncomplicated riffs, guitar flourishes that inject some pace on occasion, plenty of booming bass hooks, guitar solos and off the wall vocals.

After a slow start with I Wish I Was Dead, Skull Ring’s faster and groovier beat starts showing off where Hessian’s talents lie, namely in the guitars. A riff-tastic track backed up by thrilling bass that thrums away, vibrating in the brain.

The pacy upbeatness continues into Legpuller which has a fun flash of black metal vocals too. Then Dude Messiah with its bouncy guitar rhythm and sultry vocals before Leopold slows things down.

Does it wow? Unfortunately not. Hessian might be trying to drag an old school rock sound into the now but it comes across too much like a tribute to the bands of yesterday rather then it’s own thing.

The final couple of songs just slip by without making much of a splash even if a cover of The New Order’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Soldier tries to inject some energy back into things. It’s not a bad tune though, the better of the latter few tracks.

Mercenary Retrograde ends with a whimper as Manos The Hand of Fate spits out a sax solo near the end that will raise an eyebrow or two!

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Hessian – Mercenary Retrograde Full Track Listing:

1. I Wish I Was Dead
2. Skull Ring
3. Legpuller
4. Dude Messiah
5. Saint Leopold
6. The Viper
7. Rock ‘n’ Roll Soldiers (The New Order cover)
8. Manos The Hands of Fate

You can pick up previous releases over on Bandcamp and keep up to date with their news by liking their Facebook Page and following them on Twitter.

Hessian - Mercenary Retrograde (Urtod Void/Blasphlegmy Records)
  • The Final Score - 6/10
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