Last Sunday,the Anglo-Finnish group Hexvessel made their 4th stop in Romania, this time in Bucharest, together with the Swedish band New Keepers of the Water Towers. Both bands have been on tour for some time, promoting their new albums, When We Are Death and Infernal Machine respectively so when the Dark Bombastic Evening crew decided to bring them to Romania I was more than excited about the good news.
The show took place in Control Club which, after having been renovated, has become the perfect place for this kind of events. My only regret is that not too many people came out to witness this show, but probably many were the reasons not to come(football, Amorphis, the beautiful weather etc). Well, fuck it, it was their loss and those who were there witnessed two great shows and really enjoyed themselves. At least I know I have.
Upon entering the venue, I was greeted by a huge merch stand, both bands having many interesting items to sell for extremely reasonable prices, adapted especially for Romania, as the merch girl told me. So I was able to buy the limited hand numbered edition art book for When We Are Death for only 40 lei (almost 9 eur). Quite a bargain, I must say.
The show began a bit later than announced in the first place so New Keepers of the Water Towers started to play in front of a handful of people. Even though an intimate performance, the band played passionately and the few ones present seemed to enjoy it very much.
I have to admit I did not listen to their music much before the show, so I was not familiar with the new album at all but I was really impressed by the Swedish sextet. Very good musicians, playing weird instruments (electric violins, some sort of weird bongos, bells and effects, lots of strange effects) that gave an almost space like sound to their psychedelic , progressive doom. Strange combination, I know, but it’s hard to describe this music, which is not an easy one at all. This band was a pleasant surprise, but I don’t think I’ll be listening to their music at home, it far too weird for me.
After this intense performance, a short change over followed, time to set the stage for Hexvessel. While Heaven and Earth Magic poured from the speakers, the band walked on the stage.
Since they were touring in support of When We Are Death, they greeted us with the whole album played randomly and in between, strategically placed, they squeezed some beautiful old gems like Woods to Conjure, I am the Ritual and Sacred Marriage. The last encore was a bit special as the band played His Portal Tomb/Unseen Sun and Invocation Summoning which concluded a beautiful performance by this extraordinary entity that is Hexvessel.
Unlike the last time i saw them in Brasov, Marja Konttinen did not join them on this tour so the backing vocal duties were handled by Kimmo Helen, the little genius behind the keyboards. The band is not spectacular at all on stage, since they don’t perform any commercial gimmicks, but they let the music speak instead. And this can easily take you to some dreamy places that you don’t want to come back from. And that is the real magic of Hexvessel, I think.
Mat‘s soft voice, Jukka‘s ritual pounding, Simo‘s guitar and Kimmo‘s sounds (keyboards, violin and trumpet) mix so well in a phonic splendor that makes you dream with open eyes of old forests and magical gatherings.
I must admit that the sound was absolutely impressive, due to the club’s new PA system and to the band’s own sound technician who did an amazing job, since their music is almost analogical and really needs a very good sound, otherwise it’s ruined.
I love their last album as a whole, I think it’s their best work so far and the change of label was a really good move for them. The music is absolutely brilliant, very 70’s inspired and they manage to have the same sound and feeling live. Lyric wise, they keep the same standard as before and when you hear When I’m Dead, Mirrorboy or Cosmic Truth, a song about space and true love as Mat introduced it, you get the goosebumps.
Hexvessel is truly an incredible band that keeps it simple and is not afraid to show it.
All in all, this was a brilliant event and I am very happy I was able to see Hexvessel again, finally in my hometown this time.