Hexenaltar – Bestial Damnation4th April 2023
Hellfuck – Diabolic Slaughter5th April 2023
Label: Les Acteurs De l'Ombre / Release Date: 7th April 2023
Hyrgal is one of those bands that I have taken an almost instant liking to once I heard my first song with them – As a matter of fact, they are one of the core reasons to why I have such a massive weak spot for French Black Metal in the first place, alongside The Great Old Ones and Cepheide. So naturally, when their record label was kind enough to send me their newest release, an EP simply entitled Sessions Funéraires (which translates into ‘Funeral Sessions’, much obliged once more Google Translate), I immediately went to my stereo and gave it a spin.
As is often the case, the sheer amount of experience present in Hyrgal through its four members is only getting more and more pronounced since their reemergence back in 2016 – Their current EP release marks their fifth outing since that time, and they seems to have done nothing but picking up the pace, churning out these five fast-paced, aggressive belters (six if you count the Marduk cover added as the last song on the record), filled with all the aggression, mysticism and just a hint of that elusive French approach that I have come to not only expect, but actively seek out these days.
All in all, Hyrgal continues to be a stable example of what modern Black Metal can and should sound like, by taking many of the more memorable aspects of the Second Wave of the nineties (aside from the grainy overall mixing), keeping the drums relentlessly pounding away as the guitar riffs are kept in short bursts, adding additional weight and menace to the growling vocals.
”Phalanges Assassines” (which translates into ‘Murderous Beams’) is a prime example of this, probably why LADLO (the record label) decided to release it as the premiere single from this release.
Now sadly, the problem I always have with EP’s is, as ever, also prevalent in this case: It is too damn short, clocking in at just below twenty-five minutes – In my dream scenario the record would be at least twice as long. Still, I cannot hardly fault the band for focusing on quality over quantity, and the overall production value and inherent enjoyment of all six tracks are definitely not to be trifled with – Not to mention that I am just grateful for receiving a new release, even something relatively short to hold me over for (hopefully) another release further down the line. For me at least, Hyrgal is still going strong.