Häxer - Til Skræk og Exempel - EP Album Review - Heavy Biker / Punk Rock from Telemark, Norway

Häxer - Til Skræk og Exempel - EP Album Review - Heavy Biker / Punk Rock from Telemark, Norway

Another insignificant day in my surreal existence here in the Swiss Alps, same time, same place, and I'm writing my daily review. Just a week ago, the Norwegian collective Häxer shared their upcoming EP, 'Til Skræk og Exempel,' scheduled for release on January 13th, 2024.

Häxer, band photoPhoto credit: Iselinn Andersen

It's a unique experience every time you listen to new music for the first time; your emotions tell you whether to explore it further or leave it as is. In my experience, listening to the 'Til Skræk og Exempel' EP a week after discovering it didn't have any impact on my initial impression.

First and foremost, the album stands out for its familiar and traditional approach above all else. It follows a 90s traditional rock orientation, blending biker and punk rock with heavy and thrash metal influences, empowered by analog sounds and the energy of live performances. I consider it old-school from both angles, with no inclination to step outside its comfort zone.

In terms of musical language, I sensed Western influences throughout. The instrumentation relies heavily on live performing energy, having a dynamic range from punk rock to heavy metal across the album. The vocalist, on the other hand, possesses the most distinctive character in Häxer's musical origins, deviating from traditional qualities. His noisy and gritty style evokes memories of both punkcore and black metal in his toning.

From a technical standpoint, the album deserves recognition for its analog character and energy level. I truly enjoyed the fat guitar sound coming from real amps, capturing all the necessary air, space, emotions, and velocity.

Häxer, band photoPhoto credit: Iselinn Andersen

On the flip side, as someone heavily involved in music for over the last 15 years, it wasn't an easy experience for me. Let me try to explain.

Firstly, the album didn't resonate with my taste due to its familiar approach and lack of aesthetics. Sometimes, listening to the first minute of a song in a record is enough to see the entire picture, as it did in this case. The disappointing part was discovering that there was nothing more to uncover after multiple listens to the entire record. Does music have to teach the listener something new? Not necessarily, but artistic expression often does.

Musically, I found the language somewhat limited, designed around the 80s and 90s British and American influences familiar to rock and metal enthusiasts. Unfortunately, despite the album being in the Norwegian language, a major distinguishing factor, the music doesn't necessarily reflect almost any significance from their Norwegian origins.

Lastly, the musical integration of screamo/black metal vocals with traditional heavy rock and metal instrumentation failed to evoke any emotions during my listening. While the sound quality has the potential to impact the listener, from my perspective, the sound characterization and fusion of these two foundational ideas fell short.

Häxer - Til Skræk og Exempel EP album artworkArt credit: Elin Aadna

In the end, 'Til Skræk og Exempel' is a good sounding and well-produced old-school heavy rock EP album that is specifically designed for those who are unconditionally devoted to this vintage music. Thank you for reading.

Häxer on the Web


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