Hegemon - By This, I Conquer review
|Album:||By This, I Conquer|
01. Warfare Unleashed
02. The Rise Of The Empire Of Mine
03. My Breath As A Blade
07. No Glory For Traitors
08. I Never Felt A Pain That Was Not Pleasure
09. By This, I Conquer
Hegemon plays black metal with a power/folk flavour scattered around. Such combination gets especially obvious through the 2nd half of the album. Most of the songs start with an intro (a technical one, not sampled whatsoever), then black metal leading: quick rhythm changes, technical bass playing, and acoustic breaks in some songs. It has a few progressive elements in it, but the overall feeling is a mix of old Darkthrone with folkish Bathory, resembling Klabautamann a lot. Therefore, By This, I Conquer gets technical, raw and melodic at the same time. The album sounds catchy but not cheesy, and here's where Hegemon is at the top of its game.
Music hasn't changed much since Chaos Supreme. They combine the exact same styles without almost no variation, use the same approach to acoustic guitars, samples and spoken word speeches. But two things easily become obvious when comparing both: Chaos Supreme is just a bit less melodic and features some incredibly good bass playing, which is nice too in By This, I Conquer but an inch less sparkling. ''Stigmata'' is the best example and one of the best songs in the album, courtesy of a human bass player only known to us common mortals as... A.
The concept is driven by an epic/folk/ancient attitude: lyrics about old battles, forests, anti-religion and mysticism, samples of spoken speeches. The bagpipe and the acoustic section of the title track is one of the album's highlights. More epic pieces would be the speech at the beginning of ''The Rise Of The Empire Of Mine'' and the magnificent acoustic ''Interlude'', which like its previous sister from Chaos Supreme, is nicely performed preparing the listener to the next discharge. The general artwork itself is quite beautiful and appropriate: drawings of battle fields filled with fallen soldiers, spears and blood, ancient rural villages, death, religion, all of which support Hegemon's imagery.
The only drawback with this second effort is that it lacks fresh ideas; both music and concept are shabby and song structures are too much in the debut's line, hence surfacing with a dried out formula. Nevertheless, Hegemon still delivers and By This, I Conquer holds itself as a good melodic black metal album worth being picked up.
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