Hadal - December

22 Jan 2021 - Thorsten

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When a band tells you that they come from a “depressive town”, and that they were inspired by the “Finnish Gothic” movement of the 90s, then you know that you are not up for some light listening. This is really dark metal from the “lightless” side – which is also reflected in the lyrics, but a few words about that later.

The band was formed in Trieste, Northern Italy close to the Croatian border – an often overlooked area east of Venice, overlooked by foreigners. Hadal formed more than ten years ago in order to procure some new breath in the genre that they loved most, a metal compiled of one part death, one part gothic and two parts doom metal. They have not released very much, also due to some line-up changes. Last year they came back with December, their second full-length for which they wrote some new songs and re-arranged some older material.

The songs wear their origins on their sleeve, indeed: There is more than a pinch of Paradise Lost, a good measure My Dying Bride but also some stuff like The 69 Eyes or Swallow the Sun. Interesting is the fact that you can also hear a few more death-metal inspired moments, like the blastbeats at the beginning of Nothing Here. Remarkable is definitely the songwriting because the music is really interesting and keeps one listening closely. The band is able to write really good riffs and structure their songs in a variable manner, slower parts with small, semi-acoustic pickings intersperse the heavier structures. Sometimes, one can even hear a few classic rock-reminiscences, when the guitars seem to gallop into a riff just before they slow down again to make space for the next rather elegant parts. The musicians are not only well-experienced, but also well-skilled on their instruments – that can be said for the rhythm section of Teo on bass and Daniele behind the drums, but also for guitarists Max and Franco. Interesting is also the vocal range of Alberto, who is a really good singer and has full command of his voice, no matter if it shall be some clean singing or some hard growls, he can even keep an opera-like falsetto for some moments.

But as I said before we must talk about the lyrics. The most dominant atmosphere on December is that of a very elegant eulogy, a eulogy held by the narrator and for the narrator. It is dark and sometimes reminds me a bit of the lyrics you’d find with Depressive Black Metal artists like Kall, Lifelover or Xasthur. On the one hand, there are some interesting ideas like those expressed in The Obscure I: “I know the house / at the end of the road / I’ve seen the well, / how deep is it? / I cross the gate beyond any light / Erase the fear, the silent enigma”. However, on the other hand some of the lyrics are a bit lifeless and a bit too stereotypical, for example the opening lines in December: “A frozen wind is blowing wild / A frozen moon is shining / A dying sun will rise no more / a dying soul is fading” - the parallelism between outside world and inner conflict is always interesting but the images are too familiar.

If Hadal puts more time into these lyrics and – at the same time – keep up the good musical value itself, then they will soon find more lovers worldwide. But please, don’t keep them waiting another five years!