Album Review: Hexvessel – All Tree (Century Media Records)

Hexvessel were founded in 2009 in the magical forests of Finland, via the green and pleasant lands of England and Ireland. Mat “Kvohst” McNerney who also fronts the post punk band Grave Pleasures and already made a name for himself in extreme metal bands in the UK where he was born and raised, and in the Norwegian Black Metal scene.

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Since acclaimed debut album ‘Dawnbearer (2011), Hexvessel have released two further albums of forest folk and bewitching psychedelia. They embellished their sonic rituals with mushroom-induced psychedelia on third and most recent best-selling album “When We Are Death” to widespread critical acclaim and continue to develop their sound. Their new album “All Tree” sees the band expand upon McNerney’s personal spiritual journey. Reunited with his co-songwriter from “Dawnbearer”, Andrew McIvor, they unfurl their primordial storytelling with a contemporary command of song-craft.

All Tree will be released on February 15th 2019 via Century Media Records.

A short choir led intro (Blessing) makes little impact as Hexvessel get All Tree underway. Happily it’s short leading into the spiritual and light sounding Son of the Sky. Here the soft rhythm and harmonised vocals are very attention grabbing. There’s some highly inventive and peaceful guitar strumming going on here.

Dripping in ancient vibes, Hexvessel nail the feeling of otherworldly but natural sounding music. The haunting yet pretty tone of Old Tree is a great example of this. Some excellent violin use making it a standout track. Those looking for bite are looking at the wrong album as All Tree is all about the mellow.

Mellow tones to listen to at mellow times with mellow thoughts. The almost spoken word crooning of Changeling, the springtime sound of A Sylvan Sign and the folky dance of Wilderness Spirit will be all you need to hear to know if this is something you’ll enjoy. It’s certainly an acquired taste as other then dealing in some psychedelic elements (Birthmark), it remains heavily rooted in forest folk using a variety of tools.

Liminal Night has a little more of a sinister edge and the lyrics reflect that while Closing Circles is akin to a lullaby.

It’s a talented piece of work showing plenty of imagination but it doesn’t always translate into fascinating songs. The short version is that it’s often a bit boring even if it is very relaxing. This isn’t really helped by the length as at over 45 minutes long with 13 tracks it begins to lose its way in the thicket before too long.

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Hexvessel – All Tree Full Track Listing:

1. Blessing
2. Son of the Sky
3. Old Tree
4. Changeling
5. Ancient Astronaut
6. Visions of A.O.S.
7. A Sylvan Sign
8. Wilderness Spirit
9. Otherworld Envoy
10. Birthmark
11. Journey to Carnac
12. Liminal Night
13. Closing Circles

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The album will be available via all major streaming services upon release.

Hexvessel - All Tree (Century Media Records)
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