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Hässlig - Apex Predator review

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Band: Hässlig
Album: Apex Predator
Style: Black metal, Hardcore
Release date: May 2024

01. Yellow Bile
02. Slaves
03. Flesh And Bone
04. Body Snatcher
05. Apex Predator
06. Abgrund
07. Watch Them Hang
08. Siege
09. Raping The Exoskeleton Of Life
10. Shattered
11. Psychopathic Triumph
12. Unholy And Rotten [Midnight cover]

Do you remember Negativa? What about Délirant? Do you wish there was a noisier and punkier version of that?

Hässlig is another one of the one-man-band projects of Spanish musician D.B., with the other two aforementioned ones being ones I've covered before (here and here). I came into contact with their music mostly through their connection with the Mystiskaos label/collective, which was responsible for some of the most forward-thinking black metal at its time (crazy to think that it's not that recent anymore) and because Wormlust's H.V. provided vocals on one of the Negativa albums (so not all of it is entirely one-man made). And since thankfully D.B. is in no rush to chug out new releases, every release from their camp is well anticipated and awaited.

Even though Hässlig has been around for some time, this is the first full-length from the project, with two EPs preceding it. 2021's Guillotine was the kind of album where it's rawness was so lo-fi that it made the listening experience borderline painful in the worst way, and that was something that was more or less mended with 2023's Deathlust, leaving there more room in the mix to actually enjoy the punkier black metal. Whatever drawbacks might have still remained on Deathlust, Apex Predator makes perfect use of its rawness and penchant for noise. There is something all encompassing about that noise and all the guitar feedback worship that makes the music feel intoxicating in the same way that Délirant felt, and that's a touch that adds a lot to Apex Predator.

And I mentioned that it is a punkier version of black metal, but it is at its core black metal nonetheless. You'll find plenty of moments that stick to being black metal and however much noise can emanate from that. It is the moments where there's a deviation that do make Hässlig stand out, with a more riff-based songwriting that favors some punchy hardcore/oi! punk in the rowdiest moments and some surprisingly bass-heavy post-punk in the more psychedelic moments, even if the division between the two is not as clear cut as I'm making it out to be. There's very little that is clear cut about Hässlig, except that out of all the auditory hallucinations that D.B. conjured, this is the most cruel and violent.

I'm really glad that Hässlig delivered on the potential of the EPs, overcame their setbacks, and crafted something that stands on its own feet apart from the musician's other projects and that doesn't overstay its welcome at a very lean 36 minutes.

Written on 26.05.2024 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.


Comments: 1   Visited by: 30 users
26.05.2024 - 21:27
Auntie Sahar
Drone Empress
Napalm Death, is that you?

OK, in seriousness though, always good to have something new from this guy, especially after the demise of Mystiskaos (or "Dissociative Visions" or whatever it's called now, if it's even still active?). I'd prefer him doing more psych BM but a rawer, crust punk type sound would be interesting. And that Midnight cover here definitely has me curious. Will jam soon!
I am the Magician and the Exorcist. I am the axle of the wheel, and the cube in the circle. “Come unto me” is a foolish word: for it is I that go.


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