Crust-laden Swedes wring fresh inspiration from their changes
Track the history of these “progressively crusty” Swedes and the importance of guitarist Pontus Redig is evident. His arrival for 2005’s In Extremis ushered in a sublime layer that was part Iron Maiden-esque melodic meandering, duelling counterpoint and part screaming shred.
With Redig’s departure last year, that element would inevitably experience alteration. Hexhammaren is album number seven and with bassist Tim Rosenqvist now moving to guitar, the difference is immediately noticeable. Martyrdöd’s unique basics remain, even if the second guitar is less active, but the melodies are more concise, more linear and delivered like traditional leads as opposed to harmonic wandering. That’s not to say the likes of Rännilar and the title track are any less potent than the band’s past efforts. In actuality, a breath of fresh air has wafted in, allowing for outliers like the complex Helveteslarm and the raw Cashless Society to also contribute to Hexhammaren’s refreshing but still fearsome result. ■■■■■■■■■■
FOR FANS OF: Tragedy, Unkind, From Ashes Rise