Hadal, December review (Planet K Records 2020)

Returning for a second round of depression and grief, Italian doom band Hadal leads listeners down the path of sorrow and shows them surprising sights.

In 2017, Hadal released their debut album , Painful Shadow. They established in that work their musical fashion of a baseline quietude disturbed by external forces, leading to the alternating clean-to-coarse vocals that also seem to demonstrate the internal struggles of people in modern society. The new album continues those principles and furthers them in a deeper exploration.

After a drear four minutes, speed is amplified in the opener “December” and the clean vocals burn away in a growl. As the title song ends, it bleeds directly into “River,” a song of weeping sadness at the beginning where the guitar partners the melancholy vocal on its path to the underworld. The bass line is a settling force in the middle of the song and abruptly the guitar is the solo voice trembling us forward. By now the essence of the album is firmly in hand and we have but to float along with it.

The compositions extract the fullest measure of the weariness of dark month of December that is, after all, just the doorway to winter, leaving the worst ahead. Echoes of the first album appear and infuse the new music while fresh ideas and approaches emerge and prosper. Some songs, like “Red Again,” step away from passive observation and become directive. Others have an almost ballad quality, as in “The Obscure I.” “Nothing Here” boasts an up-tempo beginning that turns meditative, and the closer, “Stormcrow,” offers an epic metal tone with nearly frantic bookends. Taken together, the album is a diverse expedition housed in an environment of doom that contains many vibrant aspects. Recommended.

December 5th is the day the album becomes fully available from Planet K Records and through Bandcamp. Investigate the options at the links below.


Hadal website, http://www.intothehadal.com/

Hadal Bandcamp, https://intothehadal.bandcamp.com/releases

Hadal Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/HadalOfficial

Planet K Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/planetkrecords

Planet K Bandcamp, https://planetkrecords.bandcamp.com/album/hadal-december

Hadal, December review (Planet K Records 2020)

Kneel, Ailment review (Raging Planet 2020)

Kneel has released a new album after many years of reckoning and introspection. At least, that is what Ailment seems like.

Kneel is Pedro Mau, with vocals by Filipe Correia. Mau handles all the other instruments and composition. The earlier album from Kneel is 2013’s Interstice, and the new one follows a similar Hardcore / Mathcore tranche. The music is a settled, punishing groove that keeps jumping the tracks.

Each song has a single word for a title which encapsulates the idea or feeling or story. Even more precisely (and generally) than that, Pedro Mau comments on the album, in part, this way: “The accumulation of small problems in our lives can lead us, sooner or later, to situations that can get out of our control.” Some of the songs build this into their own microcosm, and you can also see it as an arc throughout the entire set. It is a long run arc in the sense that your anxiety mounts the longer you listen – the only door you can see rattles on it hinges but instead of flying open to allow for escape it is fusing shut a little more with each passing song.

The halfway point, “Raptorial,” is so harsh and upsetting you start wondering if this is the mental equivalent of a cardiac stress test. But that is the hump, and once over it you have become one of the inhabitants of the world. By the time you get to the closer, “Acuity,” you are unshaken by the rage of the tortuous waves. It is no longer a cacophony. It starts to seem merely like the truth. In a fascinating way, it is the exact opposite of the quotation above – instead of the music spinning out of control, it has become more understandable.

Available now from Raging Planet (Portugal) and Planet K Records (Italy), conveniently sourced through Bandcamp, Ailment will not make you feel better, but it might help you get on with it.


Kneel Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/seekinsideyourself

Kneel Bandcamp, https://kneel.bandcamp.com/

Raging Planet, http://www.ragingplanet.pt

Planet K Records, https://planetkrecords.bandcamp.com/

Kneel, Ailment review (Raging Planet 2020)