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Hercyn - Dust and Ages

Dust and Ages
by Matt "Wolverine" Johnson at 27 September 2015, 8:36 PM

Hailing from Jersey City, New Jersey, US, the Black Metal quartet known as HERCYN, have released their latest album, as of September 11th, 2015. "Dust and Ages" is a four-track, 34-minute, progressive creation that combines some different elements than you might hear in traditional Black Metal music. There are a few similarities to the acoustic work of CRUACHAN and the heavy stuff has the gritty sound and feel of CELTACHOR.

I liked the idea of this album having the title track broken into two separate tracks. Basically to me, it gave the sequence a more story-lined characteristic, as though I were listening to a book of songs, each one being its own chapter. "Dust" is a mellow, semi-acoustic intro that gives me the impression that this is Black Metal for the intellectuals among us. There is minimal percussion to speak of, and what is there, is mostly to create an ambient tone with mostly cymbals, toms, and no snare. A deep voice speaks words that are indiscernible in the background, as the melodic notes of the electric lead guitar bend and whistle.

More into the meat of the album, "Of Ruin" carries over the acoustic riffage from "Dust", but adds a steadier drum beat to the progression. As flowing as the music is, it remains in minor scales and shows how versatile the haunting nature of Black Metal can be. Harsh vocals come into play on this track as well, and advance the notion that the listener is indeed experiencing Metal and not some abstract form of Rock. For being what it is, this track is actually one of the more technical pieces I have heard in the aforementioned Metal subgenre. The general feel of this song is that there is despair, as the listener looks upon the smoldering carcass of a place that once thrived with life, taking in the landscape "Of Ruin."

"Storm Before the Flood" begins exactly how I would imagine a tempest raging at sea coming ashore, bringing with it a fear-inducing storm surge whose mark would be left on the pages of history. After the initial blast subsides, what follows is a melodic sequence that somehow feels hopeful, but then transitions again into a tumultuous rage. It strikes me curious to know if the infamous Hurricane Sandy of 2012 affected any of the members of this band. What happens in the middle of the song seems to be the acoustic "eye" of the storm, for directly after it, the musical tempest rages again. Perhaps it is worth noting that the atmospheric elements present throughout the album are more noticeable on this track, with the instrumentation and vocals being somewhat audibly recessed.

The dramatically anti-dramatic final chapter to the album is "Ages", the second half of the album title that is largely a sequel to "Dust" in its semi-acoustic and euphonious nature. Though present, even less percussion and vocals keep this track focused on the soft melody of the electric lead guitars. However slower, it is still dirge-esque and suitable for the remembrance of someone or somewhere held very dear. This contemplative song brings appropriate closure to the album as the waning seconds allow the volume to fade into silence.

Bravo to HERCYN, for these guys are bringing great light to a style of music that isn't common for being so exquisite in America.

3 Star Rating

1. Dust
2. Of Ruin
3. Storm Before the Flood
4. Ages
Michael Diciancia - Guitars
Ernest Wawiorko - Vocals, Guitars
Tony Stanziano - Bass
Michael Toscarelli - Drums
Record Label: Independent


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