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Hagzissa - They Ride Along Award winner

They Ride Along
by Gary Hernandez at 12 August 2019, 1:30 PM

HAGZISSA, Old High German for “Hag,” is a Black Metal band originating from Austria. They have been around since 2016. In 2017 they released a four-track demo that gained them some well-deserved attention. It also became the basis of their soon to be released 2019 debut album, “They Ride Along.” It’s hard to describe what it is about HAGZISSA that makes them so compelling. Some people say they capture the style of first wave Eastern European Black Metal; others cite their fondness for primitive, ancient magicks; and still others suggest it’s the melding of old school Black Metal with a more modern approach. It’s probably a bit of all these. Any way you look at it, HAGZISSA has produced a remarkable album.

There are several things to like about HAGZISSA as a band and “They Ride Along” as an album. First, the production value is stronger than you get on most Black Metal albums. “They Ride Along” deserves listening to through a good sound system so you can hear the nuances the production team layered into this album. This attention to detail not only includes the overall mixing but unexpected subtleties like the eerie sounds at the end of “They Ride Along on the Howling Winds!” or the evocative chorus of “Moonshine Glance (An Iron Seed in Sour Soil).”

Second, HAGZISSA respects the riff. When Morast finds a riff that’s worth exploring, he delves. Whether they are slowing the tempo to doom level, creating a haunting atmosphere (a discordant violin, poltergeistian thuds, echo-laden wind chimes, snippets from low budget horror films), or just flaring into a mosh-rendering riff fest, it’s obvious that these guys relish crunching through these tunes. Finally, the band deftly shifts from German to English in their lyrics as well as the song titles. After a while you just forget that the album is multi-lingual and you yield to the universal language of metal.

There are no bad tracks on this album. Some are very different from the others, so if you are looking for homogeny, you’ll need to look elsewhere. The very best tracks are “Moonshine Glance (An Iron Seed in Sour Soil),” “Searing Effigy,” “Irrsinnsdimensionen (A Bath Amidst the Wells),” “There, Draw a Circle!” and “They Ride Along on the Howling Winds!”

At least half of the songs on “They Ride Along” have the benefit of being incubated over time and practiced in countless gigs. B. Moser has noted that “Moonshine Glance (An Iron Seed in Sour Soil)” took him years to compose. HAGZISSA may be a classic case of a hungry wolf band launching an incredible debut album, in which case their sophomore release will be the test. In the meantime, we have “They Ride Along” which is a hell of an album by a hell of a band, so enjoy.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Die Pforte (A Speech above the Moor)
2. Irrsinnsdimensionen (A Bath Amidst the Wells)
3. Moonshine Glance (An Iron Seed In Sour Soil)
4. Searing Effigy
5. They Ride Along on the Howling Winds!
6. The Nightshade Wilderness
7. Atavist Kama Aconite Trance
8. There, Draw a Circle! 
C. Rastelli - Bass
L. Pachinger - Drums
B. Moser - Vocals
Morast - Guitars, vocals (additional)
Record Label: Iron Bonehead Productions


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Edited 02 December 2022

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