“Being and Nothingness”

By Derelikt Waugh

 I’d like to say that this album will hit you directly in your brain like a lightning bolt. I’d like to tell you that it will quash your very mind into jelly, like when you were a kid and you heard Metallica’s “…And Justice for All” or Voivod’s “Nothingface” for the very first time. These were, after all, albums that changed the face of thrash metal completely and moved the genre into an entirely new realm. Unfortunately, I can’t say that about HeXen’s “Being and Nothingness” because that was then, this is now. Sure, it’s progressive/technical thrash with an intelligent and dark edge. The problem is this: we’ve heard plenty of “forward thinking” thrash that, quite honestly, seems to moving backwards. The word is “progressive”, but where is the progress? We’ve heard everything in this band’s sonic arsenal (which is massive). Does that make HeXen a bad band? Not by any stretch. I simply wish they would take their amazing potential as far as they are clearly capable of. Judging by the fact that this is their second album, they still have a chance of doing exactly that (and shitting all over my useless opinion in the process).

 So…maybe HeXen aren’t taking thrash into an entirely new dimension, but they are more than capable of rattling some skulls and throwing in some extremely ear-pleasing twists along the way. “Being and Nothingness” is packed full of tight, intricate riffs and time changes, but not so much that it becomes boring/confusing like a lot of metal bands that fall under the progressive tag. Some of it reminds me of “Symbolic” era Death. There are also some beautiful and melancholy acoustic/piano interludes to add spice to their volatile mix of explosive, speedy thrash. Yes, this is absolutely not a bad album and HeXen is not an entirely unimaginative band. Honestly, I really wish that I could tell you that HeXen are the new Voivod, a band that is unfailingly brave in destroying the boundaries of what is and isn’t thrash metal. Well, we’ll just have to settle for a band that blows most new thrash out of the over-polluted water and hope beyond hell that their next album will really take it to the next level.