Hedonihil – “I” (Inverse Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Oh wow, take one half of Swallow The Sun, add massive doses of black and a touch of death metal and hey presto, Hedonihil is what you get! A new ‘anti-poetry product’ formed by drummer Juuso Raatikainen, vocalist Mikko Kotamäki and guitarist Juho Räihä, the band’s ‘..purpose is to be a direct sonic insult towards existence, no remorse. Take it or leave it, negative vibes only…’. Certainly true, as being a good deal faster and nastier you couldn’t anything more diametrically opposed to Swallow The Sun. However, despite the more depressive implications, the decibel energy and violent musical concoctions on “I” make this debut anything but that, instead rather like being electrocuted – to your perverse pleasure! Furthermore, as much of a side project it may be, there isn’t any drop in the high standards and class of the trio, taking this well out of the realms of garage level bands and into the main arena where the large predators roam. Thanks to the sterling musicianship and talented compositions, the 8 tracks including a cover of GG Allin’s ‘You Hate Me And I Hate You’ are more than able to maul their way through and in fine style too! With Kotamäki cat screaming and Raatikainen blast beating when he’s not pounding the s–t out’ve his kit, it’s Räihä’s guitar that really electrifies on “I” with plenty of Marduk slide riffing reeking of arrogance and decadence while plunging massive hooks and ripping you with grooves. It’s no clearer on songs like ‘The Hedonist Anthem’ that intros via heavy metal, then plunges you into the black abyss of Kotamäki’s screeching as those power riffs – occasionally graced by the odd melody – carry you off to the sacrificial altar of Raatikainen’s hyperspeed kit. On the fast riff and drum chopping ‘Anti Human Agenda’, Kotamäki drawls evilly while Räihä goes back to the old school of diddly dee and massive death power riffs that Chuck Schuldiner (RIP) that would be proud of given its catchiness, not forgetting that all out frantic ending. With ‘Better Tomorrow’ mixing it up with blast beating, decadent riffs and spoken drawls along with huge riff crashes, heavy twanging bass, melancholic background melodies and deathly roaring, ominous church bells finally clang this monster epic to a close. An utterly intense experience – make no mistake, this is a savage beast from start to finish – as intended.