Review: “Breach Us” by Hymn

“Our goal at Amper Tone Studio was to set things up basically as we do on live shows. Facing each other, Marshall JCM 800 and Simms Watts 120 in stereo and a Ampeg 810 stack on full blast. Gibson Les Paul with 74 gauge strings and a couple of fun effect pedals and we are ready to go. We don’t want to record anything that we can’t perform live, but of course, we always get inspired during the recording process and “s*** happens”. That is what makes this band special to us; with only two people there is always room for quick turn-arounds and improvisation. We ended up recording the whole thing in about 48 hours.” The words of Hymn, make for an intriguing mission statement for their EP “Breach Us” and an insight into how it was recorded. A Norwegian Metal duo consisting of singer and guitarist Ole Ulvik Rokseth and drummer Markus Støle, a pair of musicians who have been working together for 13 years, on projects including Buckaduzz, Tombstones and more recently Sâver. They have also served as session musicians for a diverse range of Norwegian artists while Hymn has been an entity since 2013, having toured small clubs and festivals in Europe at length following the release of their critically acclaimed debut “Perish” on SVART Records in 2017.

Don’t be fooled into thinking this is an EP and you’re not going to get you value for money, the four tracks eclipse the 37 minute mark between them and . The title track is a ripper with a Sludge Metal overtone that puts it between Crowbar and Will Haven sonically with a solid, weighty guitar tone giving you a real sense of gravity, grit and integrity.  Rokseth’s vocals have a raw clean quality with a gravelly edge that means you can really hear the quality of the lyrics while they let the spine rattling and somber music do its work. The guitar tone itself is raw and abrasive with those heavy gauge strings and pedal choice delivering a meaty chug on “Exit Through Fire“. It’s not a wall of sonic white noise however, all the chord changes, hammer ons and little moments are all perfectly audible, thanks to the mixing talents of Kim Lillestøl, who also recorded the record. While there is an amount of free form in the music, there is also control, which means things don’t spiral like follow Alice down the Rabbit hole in to an endlessness. The duo attack in waves with well worked tempo shifts with the precision of a laster guided missile in their almost Siamese twins like accuracy. Støle maybe metronomic but he’s got soul and feel in his kit work. “Crimson” offers something of the showcasing variety with elongated instrumental passages between sparse vocals and some real moment of clarity from a cloud of dark thought work. The menacing atmosphere of “Can I Carry You” with its swirling, almost hallucination like vocals offers a touch of the eerie. Staccato riff breaks take things low and slow before bringing everything back around for a pounding mid section. A walk on on the wild side through the Sludgy black woods on a wet winter’s day finishes with an almost ethereal buzz that is broken by a final thunderous percussive segment and bass drawl and you can’t help but wonder what is next for this duo [7.5/10]

Track listing

  1. Breach Us
  2. Exit Through Fire
  3. Crimson
  4. Can I Carry You

Breach Us” by Hymn is out 28th August via Fysisk Format

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