Is there a chance to rewind our fate?
-- Hexa Mera --
|Melodic death metal
|Niels Van Roy
Review written by Stijn “Metal Shredder” Daneels.
[METAL SHREDDER REPORTING]
Hexa Mera is a band I’ve been following closely since 2017 with me and guitarist Jan corresponding with each other on a frequent basis. Their 2017 album “Enlightenment” was one hell of a ride and while I didn’t review that album, I did review their 2021 standalone single “Consecration” which was another great tune from the band (read my review here: https://www.belgianmetalshredder.be/reviews/315).
And now Jan and the guys asked me to check out their new full-length called “Methuselarity Pt. 1.” Does it hold up to its predecessors? Well, let’s shred our way through this one and find out!
Hexa Mera’s “Methuselarity Pt. 1” is the band’s third album and is released independently. The album opens up with the energetic riffs of “Schizophobic” with Yannick’s usual gravely growls roaring slightly in the background. It’s quite a catchy tune overall and a more than solid opener to this album. Then comes “Crownless” and this track features some sudden but well-timed tempo changes wherein catchy guitars tag team with galloping sections.
Next up is “Mauersturm” a song that didn’t differ much from the previous two songs except for that sweet guitar solo in the middle part. Same goes for the follow-up “Mnemosyne,” a song that features hard-hitting drums as its main attraction but other than that nothing that really stands out for me. The sweet Hexa Mera catchiness returns with “Goliath,” with the latter part in particular being a sweet marriage of fast beats, harsh vocals and beautiful melodies. And the album’s final track, “Lilith” further builds on that for an excellent ending to an overall very nice full-length.
What I've always loved about Hexa Mera is that underneath the frantic riffs and growling vocals there’s a deep philosophical message and a lot of melody and structure and this is, once more, certainly the case in “Methuselarity Pt. 1." One difference I did notice between “Methuselarity Pt. 1” and its predecessor “Enlightenment” is this new album has a slightly slower pace and puts more emphasis on the melodic guitar play and the philosophical lyrics. There are, however, still parts wherein Hexa Mera puts on some speed (like certain parts of tracks like “Crownless” and “Goliath”).
While I enjoy this direction Hexa Mera is going for, I do still slightly prefer the more frantic and aggressive feel of “Enlightenment.” In this new album I miss a throat ripper like “Dare To Know,” an vicious anthem like “Union” or the catchiness of “The Andromorphic Principle.” In addition, while I’ve found the production to be as crisp and clear as ever, it did miss a certain punch and beefiness compared to the “Enlightenment” album.
First and foremost, for those don’t know what the hell methuselarity is (like I did until I looked it up), the term is a blend of Methuselah (a biblical figure who, according to legend, had lived for over 900 years) and singularity. Basically, methuselarity refers to possible point in time wherein mankind will no longer have to die from age-related or other natural causes thanks to various scientific and medical innovations. Instead, humanity could only die from unnatural causes like homicide or a severe accident.
And of course, Hexa Mera asks themselves (and, indirectly, us as well) whether humanity should have the means to achieve what’s basically immortality. Sure, it’s a dream mankind has been striving for since time immemorial just as we once desired to fly or go to the moon. And like Jeff Goldblum famously said in the first Jurassic Park movie, it’s not a matter of whether we could, but rather whether we should. The answer to that question remains to be seen and Hexa Mera neither supports or condemns this philosophy, leaving it all up to you, the listener, to make up your own conclusions.
The artwork of “Methuselarity Pt. 1” features a bearded man performing some alchemic experiment/religious rite in a room that looks either like a lab or an altar. Once again it’s Hexa Mera artwork that leaves a lot for self-interpretation, but the main element is still here. A human being in the middle and since Hexa Mera’s songs all deal with humanity and all its aspects, it’s obvious that a homo sapiens should grace the center of the album.
[SHARPEST SHREDS & BLUNTEST BLADES]
My favorites for me are the album’s opening track “Schizophobic” and ending track “Lilith.” For me, starting strong and ending strong(er) are two of the most important elements that decide whether I just like an album or truly enjoy it. And in both songs Hexa Mera balances their raw inner beast with their melodic inner beauty to deliver two catchy tunes.
And for me, the tracks “Mauersturm” and “Mnemosyne” are the weakest on the album. Unlike the other songs on this release they didn’t got stuck into my head unlike Hexa Mera songs usually do. Don’t get me wrong, both songs got a couple of shining moments but in the grand scheme of things, they simply lagged behind the rest of the bunch. But Hexa Mera made the smart decision to put both tracks in the middle of the album and putting forth their best in the beginning and end and that’s where it counts the most in my opinion. So while “Methuselarity Pt. 1” isn’t quite Hexa Mera’s greatest achievement (that honor remains for the “Enlightenment” album for the time being) I do believe this album deserves…
8 immortals out of 10. While I still prefer the band’s previous “Enlightenment” album over this new one, Hexa Mera has once again unleashed a very entertaining full-length album that, for the most part, successfully mixes speed and aggression with melody and philosophy to provide, what I prefer to call, thinking man’s death metal.