Sometimes I’m jealous of artists who have “rich heritage,” living in storied places bursting with legend, alive with the magick of olde… And meanwhile, here I am in suburbia, the native mythology of my location annihilated centuries ago, my own “heritage” a mishmash of European cultures I have no connection with, and my natural habitat a strip mall. How the hell are you supposed to write a song about that?
But as the Gospel of St. Thomas and the Wicca book on my nightstand will remind me, God/magick/whatever-flavor-you-prefer is all around us — and Hexvessel’s upcoming album All Tree is proof that an artist can create using inspiration from any homeland. According to the press release, Hexvessel founder Mat “Kvohst” McNerney was born in England, spent youthful summers in Ireland, moved to Norway to play black metal, and then made a new home for himself in Finland: “Settling in a country where mythology, tradition and pre-Christian heritage is still alive, McNerney found solace in the constant reflection of Finland’s pagan past, awakening secret knowledge that led to the formation of HEXVESSEL.” #wellthen
This reflection, along with collaboration from his co-writer Andrew McIvor, has yielded a psychedelic work of “wyrd folk” — imagine if all your favorite 60s and 70s hippie bands were satyrs and nymphs paying homage to the forest. Flutes and field recordings give All Tree a pastoral sound, delicate and thoughtful. “We’re told that the ancient gods cease to exist,” sings McNerney, “but deep in the woodland and valleys, I hear music.”
Maybe if I listen a little closer, I’ll hear sylvan music under the pavement of suburban Connecticut. All Tree is a mind-opening starting point for contemplation, at least.
Pre-order All Tree here.
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