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Hvile I Kaos - Black Morning, Winter Green Award winner

Hvile I Kaos
Black Morning, Winter Green
by Chris Hawkins at 13 January 2020, 4:08 PM

“Rest in Chaos” in Norwegian, HVILE I KAOS channel undiluted spiritual energies via the ether through which they retrieve the essence.  It was before studying music in college that I realized the grandeur of Classical music, though when looking at things deeper, gazing through the lens of the third semester of Music Theory, the true scale of these hallowed and revered pieces began to be revealed.  From very early childhood, I enjoyed both Metal and Classical, thus, when the two worlds begin to collide, in a manner that is not what many today label Symphonic Metal, but rather from a rare spark of creativity that ignites a barbarous blaze of individuality.  It is rare for a project to come along willing to put in the effort as well as the honesty to speak from the soul.

So, technically speaking, HVILE I KAOS is a chamber orchestra with arrangements made for bass, cello, viola, and violin.  Self-described as “black ritual chamber music,” a clever yet accurate description of the music.  No, there is no guitar, but this is an album to be experienced, one that offers a genuine, adventurous musical statement with a not-too-subtle emphasis on the atmosphere of it all.

The project is the result of the talent and tenacity of one Kakophonix, the musical mastermind behind it all.  Throughout the course of three lengthy tracks and an outro, a narrative is portrayed by the notes forming patterns in these pieces of music.  It is as if one is greeted with an empty journal, a nice fountain pen, and the soundtrack to an unbounded, untethered-to-the-mundane imagination.

An Inviting Afterglow” is the title of the first track, and at the 1:45 mark, boom!  My attention was suddenly fully grasped by the maniacal, twisted banshee shrieks of higher-register notes forcefully hammered out by violin (and possibly, viola).  During the nine-plus-minute track, one is taken on a journey by music played with passion that is honest and bold.  There re some bits that summon a starkly Celtic vibe, but overall, there is so much more going on with a heavy soundtrack feeling and an ending solo that eloquently sums up the denouement.  It is a stunning piece of music, and the following selection, “Grand Darkness Engulfs,” is no less thrilling with its fitting title and dark hypnotic appeal.  The “band” really shines when given complex, harmonically-rich parts for it is when the instrumentation is manipulated as in the middle here that the album can truly haunt a person.  The slightly uneasy resolution with its broad undercurrent of melody is conveyed perfectly.

There are, of course, others who have braved this area of dark instrumental music.  DEVIL DOLL comes to mind though Mr. Doctor used narration, chorus, and a full symphony orchestra (if one is a fan of unique Avant Garde music that summons a dark carnival vibe with a rich, haunting feel, search for them on Discogs).  One could also point to MORTIIS and some of the BURZUM material, yet their compositions fail to reach the heights of this material.  Obviously, APOCALYPTICA would be a glaring point of reference.  Yes, there are others; however, only HVILE I KAOS manages to assemble their music as such with appropriate regard given to technical proficiency as well as melodic depth and flair.  Simply put, this is a unique album that is the perfect soundtrack to practically any activity, a cerebral work that penetrates the mind and massages the listener’s zone of creativity.  It is an instrumental album sans electronics that is just as bitingly cold as AMORPHIS’s “Black Winter Day,” as forward-thinking as WREKMEISTER HARMONIES, and yet traditional all the while focusing these ideas in a palpable brew, a most intoxicating elixir.

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

4 Star Rating

1. An Inviting Afterglow
2. Grand Darkness Engulfs
3. A Shock of Winter Green
4. Outro
Kakophonix – All/None
Record Label: Red Nebula


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Edited 09 February 2023

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