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Hegemony - Enthroned by Persecution Award winner

Hegemony
Enthroned by Persecution
by Chris Hawkins at 23 June 2020, 9:45 AM

While it may seem like writers across the spectrum of media are huddled in a state of collectively confused awe due to the unprecedented nature of these times, truly, no matter where one hangs his hat in the political landscape, cultural volatility, and social unrest are like a thickly dense fog, one apparently unnavigable.  Thus, real times such as these call for a soundtrack, a point I came to after having listened to the album multiple times.  It is auspiciously fortunate that HEGEMONY present themselves as the musical answer to thermonuclear warfare.  “Enthroned by Persecution” is surprisingly the band’s debut full-length and absolutely rips as it bombards the senses like sitting through an album while huddled with the family in Dresden as bedlam is unleashed from the sky in 1945.

Exalted March to Decimation” is not just a fitting title for the opening track to this savage album.  No, it is the brutal, smashed in the teeth, grinding mayhem that I evidently needed.  After hearing this, it is like coming up for a breath of life-giving oxygen after being submerged under the cold depths.  It is a visceral rush of old school stomping Death Metal that embraces the art behind the genre fully.  So, it is with open arms that this band gives musical nods to the past while still rifling down a precise, deadly sound.  The door to the inferno has been thrown open as the unholy call to arms has been sounded by the three-piece from the hottest center of hell, Birmingham, Alabama.  The second track, “Rise Turmoil,” is like the next logical step in brutality.  The band is categorized online as Death/Black Metal; however, these ears hear what could better be termed a solid foundation in the expanse of Extreme Metal with equal nods from bands like AUTOPSY to BRUTAL TRUTH to the more-than obvious BLASPHEMY or ARCHGOAT.  Some classify these guys as strictly War Metal which is a fitting description, yet HEGEMONY have brought their A-game for their debut full-length with the intent of making a solid first impression, a feat resoundingly achieved.

This is an extremely mature album.  To be so extreme, one wouldn’t assume there would be as much musicality to their approach.  HEGEMONY defy the mold.  They incorporate tropes from throughout the underground annals and records and ultimately have formulated a dense, violently rabid sound that is held together by a dedicated self-identity, the confidence to let the music speak for itself.  The production certainly helps the cause as the assault is blistering and simply massive.  The chainsaw-like ragged timbre of the guitar blends perfectly with the twin vocal approach alternating between guttural lows and shrieking mids/highs.  The drums feel authentic, organic, and consistently keep the music interesting with a solid groove and sharp intensity when blasting.  The album works so well because it holds with it a rich tradition.  HEGEMONY have sought out the grail, proven their noble intentions, and have been justifiably rewarded with a dominating sound that eschews expectation in favor of relentless mayhem on their own terms.  The last track, “Ruination Sacrifice,” is a prime example of how the band operates putting the monumental touch on the finale.  What makes the music so effective is that the riffs themselves are not overly cluttered or complex but rather speak form themselves with their epic memorability.  Less is indeed more.

The third track, “Halter of Bloodlines,” features a staggering breakdown.  I almost found myself ducking reflexively in anticipation of the furious maelstrom of the pit.  While this may sound like it is coming from out of left field, I was reminded of two of my favorite bands in this song.  First, there is that dirty, shit-kickin’ storm that reminded me of some of the finer, more pummeling moments from SOILENT GREEN.  There is also this rockin’, amped-up MC5-on-PCP shade of ENTOMBED’s post- “Wolverine Blues” material.  The references are less from a direct, musical perspective and more intended to be aimed at the aesthetics conjured from listening to the material.  This is followed by “Driven by Hedonistic Vice,” a song driven by a nasty, low, detuned bass which hasn’t had the strings changed since joining the band.  The song caps off what has amounted to be four markedly violent songs that steadily increased with intensity to this penultimate moment.  It is the sound of a freight train barreling down the tracks at full speed blissfully unaware the track is about to end with a colossal cliff straight ahead.  Here is another head-scratching reference (to some at least, I’m sure) to a vastly different band:  the bass line played with such reckless abandon is in step with the drums and eventually guitar that join in to present an opening riff that was reminiscent of mid-‘90s-era HELMET and their pulverizing track “In the Meantime”.  It is only that one riff, however, that the band sounds like that with the rest being a melee of bruising, slightly crusty, incitingly anthemic material.

In short, this truly is the album we all needed right now.  Hells Headbangers Records have a solid reputation for recruiting compelling new talent and they have not fallen short here.  HEGEMONY are indeed a monstrous force to be reckoned with and this collection of eight dystopian, confrontational hymns to Ares showcase a band that have relentlessly trained for battle and now seek to enter the fray – to war!  The demand is certainly high, and the climate is just right now for tangible, meaningful art.  HEGEMONY have answered the call and undoubtedly, many Metal fans will rabidly devour this highly charged album full of bruising, all-out beatdowns.

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

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Exalted March to Decimation
2. Rise in Turmoil
3. Halter of Bloodlines
4. Driven by Hedonistic Vice
5. Strength and Impurity
6. Fist of Heretical Triumph
7. Desecration Paradigm
8. Ruination Sacrifice
Lineup:
Fiendish Regressor of Fiendish Spiritual Obliteration & Primordial Dominator – Bass
Sadistic Berserker of Maniacal Desecration & Ruination Wielder - Drums
Barbaric Progenitor of Hedonistic Devastation & Chaos Overlord – Guitar
Record Label: Hells Headbangers Records
     


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Edited 30 November 2021
 

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