You really never know what to expect from Hexvessel and I can honestly say that Kindred was not something I had quite seen coming. While it still carries the folk atmosphere, there is definitely an experimental nature to the album that urges the listener to be ready for anything. In fact, the very first song on the record, “Billion Year Old Being” carries a psychedelic vibe with a production value that is not far removed from the classics of that era. It is also the longest, clocking in at just over seven minutes of playing time. However, Kindred is not that kind of album and most of the songs here are just a little over three or four minutes.
“Fire Of The Mind” might not be too indifferent from some of the work on their previous outing, but there’s just something a bit romantic about “Bog Bodies” which even gets a little saxy. I guess that’s just what they like to call “sax magic” in these parts. “Phaedra” is quite dark, not far removed from ritual darkwave or even Goth, which is not something I would have expected. It also features a ritual number and a small acoustic bit, showing that Hexvessel wanted to subvert fan expectations with this one, while creating a record that is wholly memorable on it’s own.
“Kindred Moon” and “Magical & Damned” both seem to have the same alternative rock flow, but they resonate with me in a way that modern alternative music cannot do. I’m also getting a latter-era Cult vibe from this, which is certainly not a problem for me. The latter song in particular seems to make me think of how many men are enraptured by the beauty of various women on the internet, yet those women are also causing rather heinous acts. This review is not the place for that commentary, but the “damned” part certainly fits. Even so, I as a man still find women to be ravishing regardless of how sinister that some can be. I don’t think it can be said better than that.
The last song “Joy and Sacrifice” here reminds me of Unto Ashes and has a definite dark-folk element that fits in well with all the experimentation utilized so far on the album. Once again, Hexvessel delivers a powerful album and if you’ve missed it, now may be the time to give it a listen.