“The Hierarch”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Said it before and I will say it again: France is the center of the black metal universe. They are making Norway a nostalgic memory of the distant past with their current onslaught of black metal of all kinds. Hegemon is yet another new force hailing from the Gallic homeland and they specialize in highly energized symphonic BM that is very well thought out.

Symphonic black metal is not my poison of choice…I prefer the more bestial side…but boy, these guys really know their stuff. You will hear a little bit of almost everything on “The Hierarch”….ferocious high speed blasting, moody orchestrated keyboards, vocals ranging from hateful raven rasps to guttural roars to Gregorian choirs to clean singing, gloomy ambience and freezing dissonant guitar chords.  They manage to mix all this together in such a smooth fashion that nothing sounds forced. Just when you think maybe they are starting to lean too much to the pompous side, along comes a thunderous jolt of pure speed and horrid screams.

I compare this to other recent releases on Season of Mist like Revenge and This Gift Is A Curse and find it more palatable. Raw hate has its place but when the music sounds like garbage cans in a hailstorm, I will opt for something that sounds like it was done with a plan in mind. Hegemon had a strong game plan in place for “The Hierarch” and their execution of it should please any fan of classy black metal.