Review & Track Premiere: Hazemaze, Hymns of the Damned

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on October 14th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Hazemaze Hymns of the Damned

[Click play above to stream the premiere of ‘Shadow in the Night’ from Hazemaze’s Hymns of the Damned. Album is out November 22 through Cursed Tongue Records and Ripple Music.]

Vinyl preorders for Hazemaze‘s Hymns of the Damned start Nov. 1 through Cursed Tongue Records for a Nov. 22 LP/DL release. Ripple Music is putting the Swedish troupe’s second album out on CD as well, and the band have announced two release shows that are six days apart from each other, so one way or another, you might say the new record from Hazemaze is coming soon and choose your angle of approach accordingly. While there may be several threads involved in the arrival of the eight-track/41-minute follow-up to the Stockholm trio’s 2018 Kozmik Artifactz-delivered self-titled debut (discussed here), the LP itself is a heavy amalgam much easier to process in its garage-doom churn and dug-in riffage, informed by heavy blues but not beholden to them and bearing a persistent atmosphere of threat that speaks to an affinity for classic doom, particularly in songs like “Green River” (premiered here) and the subsequent weighted boogie of the penultimate “Reverend Death.” Those two cuts, as well as the raucous finisher “Forever Trapped in Hell” are shorter, in the three-to-four-minute range, than the five cuts prior that make up side A and the start of side B, and the effect is almost like Hazemaze have reversed the plot of many LPs and put the opening salvo in the closing position and turned the B side into the A side and the A side into the B side. The bottom line? If the release dates don’t disorient you, they’re going to get you one way or the other.

Actually, when it comes to what’s going to “get you,” it’s probably the songwriting. Hazemaze — guitarist/vocalist Ludvig Andersson, bassist Estefan Carrillo and drummer Nils Arkitekten Einéus — might not be revolutionary in aesthetic terms, but what they do, they do well and with the confidence of a band of much longer standing. There’s some element of Monolord-style atmospherics to the vocals on “Shadow in the Night,” the opening track and new single premiering above, but though certainly riffy, Hazemaze‘s trip is rawer in form and more about roll than crush. What “Shadow in the Night” sets in motion continues through the end of Hymns of the Damned in terms of forward momentum and classic affinity. There’s plenty of nod-fodder, to be sure, but as Hazemaze lead the way into “Morbid Lust” on a swinging bassline, there’s no question that movement is a focal point for the band and crucial to their approach. Einéus is duly beastly on his crash cymbal, adding uptempo flair to Andersson‘s riffing and languid vocals, while Carrillo‘s low end lurks beneath the distortion, carrying the weight that is so essential to the proceedings in mood and the sheer delivery. By the time they’re into “Thrill Seeker,” the course is set in terms of overarching groove and the sound and general spirit of the offering, which is ultimately to the band’s credit in terms of their efficiency conveying the grim (but still kind of a good time) ambience through the early tracks.

hazemaze (Photo by Magnus Nicander)

That might be an effect of the noted A/B swap method, or it might just be a consequence of knowing what they want out of their material more generally, but on either level, it only makes Hymns of the Damned more immersive and engaging on the whole for those willing to take it on. “Thrill Seeker” brings chug and violent threat in its verse alike in the Uncle Acid spirit with Andersson touching on layered self-harmony in the vocals, and “Lobotomy” stands among the most outwardly catchy of the inclusions as it rounds out the first half of the tracklist with a hook that continues the momentum set up on the first several tracks. Hazemaze‘s sense of movement might be subtle — that is, it doesn’t feel like they’re shoving you through one track to the next — but it’s there if not brazen in its intensity. They set a balance between atmosphere and push that works well across the span and, again, highlights the contributions particularly of Einéus and Carrillo to the songs on the whole. And though I haven’t seen a lyric sheet, even “Solicitor of Evil” — the longest cut at 6:56 and the presumed side B leadoff — doesn’t seem to be explicitly about killing women, so that’s a plus too if we’re thinking in the sphere of post-Uncle Acid garage doom. Certainly not every band can say the same. I like to think of “Solicitor of Evil” like a devilish attorney, but I’ll say again, I haven’t seen a lyric sheet to confirm that. Would be fun though.

On a lot of records, “Solicitor of Evil,” with its late wah bass and ultra-swing, would be the grand finale, but on Hymns of the Damned it’s just an introduction to the next stage, with “Green River,” “Reverend Death” and “Forever Trapped in Hell” reigniting the riffy momentum — and cowbell — of “Shadow in the Night” and bringing about a more bounding conclusion. In terms of general sound, there’s isn’t so much of a radical shift, but especially across multiple listens, the change is evident as “Solicitor of Evil” gives way to “Green River,” the storytelling aspect of which — “Walking down that dusty road…,” etc. — likewise signals a change of angle. Like the structure of the album generally, it’s not a move a less confident band could pull off, but Hazemaze do it by simply doing it, and that in itself is a statement of who they are as a group. As their second album careens to its brash finish with “Forever Trapped in Hell,” the more active and tightened craft only seems to underscore the point of Hazemaze‘s momentum earlier on the LP, their last hook giving way to a winding charge with a solo in the last minute and a series of hits that uses every single one of the track’s four minutes and 11 seconds. It is righteous and portentous in kind, since Hazemaze come across in the end like a band that still has much more to say; “leave ’em wanting more,” and all that. They do, even with the rest of Hymns of the Damned leading into “Forever Trapped in Hell,” and one can’t help but think that whatever the three-piece do from here, they’ll only have benefited from being so sure and so correct in the decisions they made with and within this material.

Hazemaze on Bandcamp

Hazemaze on Thee Facebooks

Hazemaze on Instagram

Cursed Tongue Records webstore

Cursed Tongue Records on Thee Facebooks

Cursed Tongue Records on Instagram

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Ripple Music website

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Hazemaze Premiere “Green River”; Hymns of the Damned Due in November

Posted in audiObelisk on July 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

hazemaze

Swedish doom rockers Hazemaze release their second album, Hymns of the Damned, this November through Cursed Tongue Records and Ripple Music. The band’s alignment to the two labels — the former for vinyl, the latter CD — was announced in May, along with the title of the record, and in following up their 2018 self-titled debut on Kozmik Artifactz, the Stockholm three-piece present an energy that leaves little to wonder why others would want to get behind the release as they have. “Green River” — a tale of murder most foul — is the first audio to come from the offering, and its vibe is straight-ahead doom rock that makes its impression with groove and melody at the forefront of priorities. Okay, it’s plenty heavy and catchy too. You got me.

The band acknowledges that heft as something purposeful as well, and talks about it as representative for their “new direction” on the second record. I can’t confirm how much “Green River” does or doesn’t represent the entirety of Hymns of the Damned since — and given that it’s not out for four-plus months, this shouldn’t be a surprise — I haven’t heard it yet, but the single doesn’t seem so radically different from what the Stockholm outfit were doing on a song like “Minds Abyss” from their debut, though I’ll allow that “Green River” is more efficient on the whole and that might also be what they’re talking about in the quote below. Whatever the case, the chance to sample some new wares from the band is cool by me, to be sure, and if you’re the preorder type, I’m sure there’s enough here to have you beating the doors down.

Enjoy the track:

Hazemaze on “Green River”:

”Green River” was the last song that we wrote before entering the studio in late March. We refer it as the “Pentagram song” because it got that kind of 1994s Be Forewarned vibe to it. It’s a really heavy tune and we felt that this is the song that we wanted to release first because it captures the band’s new direction in style yet maintains the essence of the debut album.

On VINYL (Cursed Tongue Records) and CD/DIGITAL (Ripple Music) November 2019.

Cursed Tongue Records and Ripple Music have teamed up for a joint release of Stockholm, SE 70’s stoner doom trio Hazemaze’s dark and menacing sophomore album ‘Hymns of the Damned’. When the three Swedes released their debut album last year on German label Kozmik Artifactz it was to much applaud from the heavy underground community.

The band has just finished recording of the follow-up album to their successful self-titled debut LP. We have had a sneak-peak on the pre-production of the new album and we can ensure you that you are in for a thrilling, riff-heavy showcase of retro-tinged stoner doom from the top drawer. Brace yourself to hear Hazemaze at their darkest, most energetic and heaviest yet as they have truly upped the irons on ‘Hymns of the Damned’.

Hazemaze is ready to take on the big league and are bringing the riffs the size of mountains, so get ready to be washed over with heavy, fuzzy riffs and low-ends. It’s soon time to rip it up to one this year’s best heavy stoner doom albums, ‘Hymns of the Damned. We are all damned, we are all cursed so let the ripple of riff-waves carry us away. Get psyched!

Hazemaze is:
Ludvig – Guitar/Vocals
Nils – Drums
Estefan – Bass

Hazemaze on Bandcamp

Hazemaze on Thee Facebooks

Hazemaze on Instagram

Cursed Tongue Records webstore

Cursed Tongue Records on Thee Facebooks

Cursed Tongue Records on Instagram

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Ripple Music website

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Hazemaze Sign to Cursed Tongue Records & Ripple Music; Hymns of the Damned Due This Fall

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 24th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Vinyl-loving platterheads should welcome the news that Cursed Tongue Records has picked up Sweden’s Hazemaze for a Fall 2019 release of their second full-length, Hymns of the Damned. The Danish imprint has proven its mettle time and again at this point when it comes to things plastic and turntable-spinny, and with a CD through Ripple Music, the children of the ’90s don’t have to feel left out either. It’s nice to have everyone included, isn’t it?

Hazemaze join an increasingly packed Cursed Tongue roster — let alone Ripple! — and Hymns of the Damned follows behind their 2018 self-titled debut, which was issued through Kozik Artifactz. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s two records with three rousing endorsements. There’s no audio from the new offering yet — Fall’s a ways off, so maybe check back in later? — but you can stream the self-titled at the bottom of this post if you need a refresher on why all these labels seem so keen to get behind these guys. I think it’ll be clear by the time they get to the opening riff of “Lord of Cubensis.”

Here’s news from Cursed Tongue via the PR wire:

hazemaze

HAZEMAZE SIGNS TO CURSED TONGUE RECORDS AND RIPPLE MUSIC FOR WORLD WIDE RELEASE OF THEIR SOPHOMORE ALBUM ‘HYMNS OF THE DAMNED’ FALL 2019.

Cursed Tongue Records and Ripple Music have teamed up for a joint release of Stockholm, SE 70’s stoner doom trio Hazemaze’s dark and menacing sophomore album ‘Hymns of the Damned’.

When the three Swedes released their debut album last year on German label Kozmik Artifactz it was to much applaud from the heavy underground community. Fans and critics alike acknowledge the sincerity and skill that Hazemaze exhibits on record and that has been further cemented by a string of live performances in their home country and beyond.

With the signing of Hazemaze to both Cursed Tongue Records (DK) and Ripple Music (US) the next phase in the Hazemaze evolution is ready to unfold as they will bring the power of their riffs to even further regions and new ears.

The band has just finished recording of the follow-up album to their successful self-titled debut LP. We have had a sneak-peak on the pre-production of the new album and we can ensure you that you are in for a thrilling, riff-heavy showcase of retro-tinged stoner doom from the top drawer. Brace yourself to hear Hazemaze at their darkest, most energetic and heaviest yet as they have truly upped the irons on ‘Hymns of the Damned’.

Hazemaze is ready to take on the big league and are bringing the riffs the size of mountains, so get ready to be washed over with heavy, fuzzy riffs and low-ends. It’s soon time to rip it up to one this year’s best heavy stoner doom albums, ‘Hymns of the Damned. We are all damnned, we are all cursed so let the ripple of riff-waves carry us away. Get psyched!

BAND BIO

Hazemaze is a stoner/doom power trio from Sweden that took form in the spring 2016. The band first began with the intention of becoming a garage-rock outfit, but that all changed when they come to realize that they all shared the same passion for seventies hard rock music. 6 months after, the band recorded their first EP “Wicked Ways” and began playing shows around Stockholm and other cities nearby. However, it did not take long before the band began writing more songs, which evolved into a more doom-oriented sound.

Two years later, their self-titled debut album was released through Kozmik Artifactz, and the overwhelmingly positive respond, from every corner of the stoner/doom scene, helped the band break new territories and gaining recognition in the local doom scene, as well as abroad. Now it’s time for the next chapter in the story of Hazemaze, a record that is far heavier, darker and doomier than its predecessor. “Hymns of the Damned” will see the light of day in the fall of 2019.

BAND STATEMENT

“We are extremely excited and humbled to announce that we have signed a record deal with Cursed Tongue Records and Ripple Music for the release of our second album entitled “Hymns of the Damned”. It´s an honor to collaborate with two amazing labels that really embraces the heavy underground scene in both Europe and US, and becoming a part of that family.”

‘Hymns of the Damned’ will be out on CD and digital via Ripple Music and vinyl via Cursed Tongue Records in Fall 2019.

Hazemaze is:
Ludvig – Guitar/Vocals
Nils – Drums
Estefan – Bass

All tracks written and performed by Hazemaze
Recorded & Produced at Studio Underjord together with producer Joona Hassinen
Track listing: TBA! 8 tracks of riff-worshipping songs

https://hazemazeband.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/hazemazeband/
https://instagram.com/hazemazeband
http://cursedtonguerecords.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/CursedTongueRecords
https://www.instagram.com/cursedtonguerecords
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

Hazemaze, Hazemaze (2018)

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