Hex A.D. - Astro Tongue In The Electric Garden review


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Band: Hex A.D.
Album: Astro Tongue In The Electric Garden
Release date: February 2020

01. Elle Est Mort
02. Deadly Nightshade
03. Astro Tongue
04. The Day The Sky Exploded
05. Au Revoir Jardin Électrique
06. Hawks And Doves
07. Old Bones
08. A Stone For The Bodies Not Found
09. Grace And Pain 

Astro Tongue In The Electric Garden is the fourth full-length release of Hex A.D. and it is a very tasty hard rocking and progressive doom album, injected with hefty doses of classic rock and psychedelia.

The band is the brainchild of late producer Chris Tsangarides (yes, the man responsible for Painkiller's awesome sound) and drummer/singer Rick Hagan, who has played drums as a live musician for Blaze Bayley, Paul Di'Anno, and Tim "Ripper" Owens among others. Hex A.D. started as a solo band and on the debut Rick plays all the instruments and sings. In 2015 he met Hammond organ and mellotron player Magnus Johansen, so the band's next two albums had an added '70s touch. Astro Tongue In The Electric Garden is their best release to date and I'll tell you why right now.

Hex A.D.'s previous albums were decent progressive doom records, with some super-long songs like "Fields Of Gehenna", "The Madrigal Of The Black Hooded Crow", "Ladders To Fire" and the - relatively shorter - "Warchild" standing out. The new record does not have any song exceeding the 10-minute mark and it is a lot jollier and happier. It looks like they have found a way to create their own sound, while clearly being influenced by British giants of the '60s and '70s; you can hear elements from Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Jethro Tull, Hawkwind and Yes to Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin.

The trippy cover artwork by David Patchett is very representative of the music on this album. It is a playful painting and the concept behind it is that, for children, things and toys that they love playing with during the day can also be scary in the dark. It's a very psychedelic piece of art that is at the same time creepy and innocent. Just like the music on here can be described as 'uplifting doom' - and I know that this is an oxymoron.

The album consists of diverse tracks and the way they are built is complex without following a fixed pattern. Every song is a riff journey that can be doomy, funky, bluesy, progressive, but never boring, and the lead guitar follows the flow of the songs instead of sticking out like a sore thumb. Also, Magnus Johansen's contribution is immense here. He had been working closely for a long time with Jon Lord and it shows; the Hammond organ and the mellotron are playing a protagonist role in the way the tracks unfold and they give either a more joyful spirit or its opposite, depending on what each song or part of a song needs. On "Hawks And Doves" for example, which is about the Vietnam war, Johansen adds a very bluesy feeling to it, and sets the mood for the great solo played by Thomas Tofthagen (Audrey Horne) that blends with the melody line of the song, before the passionate voice of Eirikur Hauksson (Artch) comes in. It's my favourite track on a filler-less record.

Rick Hagan has revealed that the next album, to be titled Funeral Tangle For Gods And Men, is already half-written and it is supposed to be the more aggressive, fiery and temperamental brother of this one. I can't deny that I am very excited to hear more new music from Hex A.D. sooner rather than later, but for now I thoroughly enjoy the process of discovering all the different facets of Astro Tongue In The Electric Garden and the way it takes me back to the namesake club in London, even though I wasn't even born back then.

Let the power of the riff compel you.

"The sunrise here is freezing
The empty skies are grey"


Written on 06.04.2020 by Only way to feel the noise is when it's good and loud!


Comments: 2   [ 1 ignored ]   Visited by: 75 users
06.04.2020 - 19:52
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
The sunrise is freezing indreed man, we live in frozen soul. Its good its doom but influenced many genres, many things, but all goes to doom as ground genre. Great band. I like all bands you listen.
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
06.04.2020 - 20:41
Written by Bad English on 06.04.2020 at 19:52

The sunrise is freezing indreed man, we live in frozen soul. Its good its doom but influenced many genres, many things, but all goes to doom as ground genre. Great band. I like all bands you listen.

Check out the songs from the previous albums I mention in the review, especially "Warchild". It has a solo from Rowan Robertson that is absolutely divine.

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