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Haissem - Philosofiend Award winner

by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 19 March 2021, 6:30 AM

HAISSEM is a black metal band from the Ukraine, formed by Andrey Tollock who is also responsible for the melodic death/doom band SUNSET FORSAKEN. "Philosofiend" is the sixth album from the band. This is an album that I found to be very well rounded. It isn’t afraid to be what it needs to be, using a variety of elements to piece the songs together rather than one monotonous sound.  It is an intense ride from beginning to end but not for the sake of—thoughtfulness and purpose are two ideas that make up this extreme metal album.

HAISSEM's sound across this album is melodic when the song calls for it or ferocious when needed. Every thing from melodic death to even some prog elements finds a use here because Andrey knows how to make the songs work for him. The opening track, "An Inspiration For My Inner Carnifex" is explosive and captures the raw emotional power of black metal. But the guitars take this aggression, twist it, turns it and change it into these melodic parts that fit perfectly into the song's context.

The drums take the same approach. They are a musical raging waterfall on the more intense moments but hang back and become more intricate when the music changes to a melodic tinge. "Gore Painted Vacuum," begins with the melodic and the dissonant mixing together for a rousing opening. The strong snare attack helps reinforce the sound as does the low end rumbling of the bass. The bass is strong throughout the album—a lot of black metal ignores the bass, thus leaving behind a thin sound. That isn’t the case here and the production is beefy as well.  The song gets increasingly faster as it rages forth but never loses the harmonies that make it so infectious. The movement starting at the 2:10 is goddamn amazing, galloping melodies and groove that turns the band into an extreme, blackened iron maiden. The riffs afterwards bang the head hard as well, whiplash inducing

"Despising The Infidels," is one of my favorite tracks for a variety of reasons. First, the bass finds that sweet spot between being a melodic counterpoint and holding up the song's foundation. But being melodic doesn't always mean soft or light…on this song they go as hard as anything else and give the song urgency and vigor. The movement from 3:18 to all the way to end is effective in bringing together everything that's so great about the album: melodies weaving in and out of the riffs, relentless drumming and acid drenched blackened growls and screams.

The final track, “Archtype of Malice,” is a slower and more methodical than previous songs….muddier, thicker and huge in approach. The band pulls it off well and it allows each instrument to really standout. The riffs are more straightforward in places, a laser focus in a more old school approach. The guitar solo a quarter of the way through is a nice surprise….emotional and even a bit blues oriented. Despite the different approach, it leads back into the song effortlessly.

All in all, this album is a step forward for the band and it lays down a clear path towards future releases.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. An Inspiration For My Inner Carnifex
2. Gore Painted Vacuum
3. Bliss Apocryphal
4. Despising The Infidels
5. La Confesiо́n Del Diablo Blanco
6. Voluntary Exile
7. Archetype Of Malice
Andrey Tollock – All instruments, Vocals
Record Label: Independent


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