By Matt Hinch. I'm not sure exactly how Perish, the debut full-length from Norway's Hymn made its way to my ears. It was likely something to do with the phrase “two man doom”. There's a magic that often happens under those conditions. OM, for example. Jucifer isn't always doomy but they have it. So do Black Tar Prophet (if you haven't heard of them, check 'em out.)By Matt Hinch.
I'm not sure exactly how Perish, the debut full-length from Norway's Hymn made its way to my ears. It was likely something to do with the phrase “two man doom”. There's a magic that often happens under those conditions. OM, for example. Jucifer isn't always doomy but they have it. So do Black Tar Prophet (if you haven't heard of them, check 'em out.) I know there's other doom duos out there but they're failing to surface in my mind given the tonal onslaught of “Serpent” inflicting my aging ears at the moment.
As the (almost) centrepiece of the six track LP “Serpent” anchors Perish with a determination and darkness that keeps the album rooted in heaviness. It's mean and evil. As with most the tracks here it never stays in one spot too long, moving through tempos, moods and intensities. It creates space and then collapses it through pounding percussion and mountain shaking guitars.
|Photos by Pedro Roque.|
“Rise” unfolds over 12 minutes giving it even more time to venture wherever Markus and Ole feel like going. Slow, droning doom, rumbling tank sludge riffs, quick, almost black metal parts, all saturated in volume and epic tone. “Spectre” holds many of these same qualities as well. But it has this simple, martial riff that pulses and hammers at you inducing irresistible banging of the head and stands out at the album's most memorable moment.
As massive as everything is instrumentally, the vocals take care of business in a big way (Yes, that's a Big Business nod.), roaring across continents in the spirit of Jon Davis of Conan. The similarities to Conan don't end there either. Hymn cultivates gargantuan riffs and powerful movements with the ease of their UK brethren. However, Hymn are more dynamic in my opinion. Every song is a journey with its ups and downs, slogs and races wearing you down. Their ability to stitch it all together is confident and unshakeable, deafening and defiant.
|Photos by Pedro Roque.|
Whether they're slugging out torturous doom, breaking necks with sludge, or injecting adrenaline into the mix to clear cut your consciousness, Hymn do it well. Very well in fact.
Throughout Perish they channel bands like Sleep/OM/High on Fire, the aforementioned Conan, Big Business, hosts of other doom/sludge bands like Black Cobra(!) as well as the mighty Yob. That's not to say they're simply a patchwork of influences. Hymn write their own odes to heaviness and do it with enough dynamics and flow to catapult themselves into the same echelon as the bands they're compared to. Perish curdles and corrodes its way into your mind instantaneously and sets up residence. It's powerful, emotional and exhausting. If you like heavy ass sludge/doom with epic undertones, warmth, and skillful song writing, your prayers have been answered.