Majestic and mesmeric, “No Holier Temple” the new album from psychedelic folk-rock Hexvessel is a magnificent kaleidoscope of warmth, light, and sonic colours. It is a release which transports the senses and thoughts into the vibrant heart of woodlands before immersing them deeper into the magical essence of nature and its ritualistic world. It is eclectic in sound, hypnotically unpredictable and coated in an enchantment of beauty and golden delirium which simply ignites the imagination.
The band was founded in 1983 by vocalist and guitarist Mat “Kvohst” McNerney, a musician known for his work with Code, Void, Dødheimsgard, and most recently Beastmilk. Upon moving to Finland in 2009, McNerney was joined by a coven of musicians from Tampere featuring musicians from Galacticka and Dark Buddha Rising. Fusing a love for folklore, nature, and pagan mysticism with late sixties and early seventies English folk and psychedelia, the band released their acclaimed debut album ”Dawnbearer” in 2011. It was a darkly toned expanse of imagination with an originality which found a firm welcome. “No Holier Temple” is a continuation and evolution to its successor and like the first release, steps away from the work and sounds of other artists for a fresh and dramatic realisation of ideas and vision.
The album opens with the enchantment of spoken vocals and acoustic guitar of ‘Heaven On Earth Magic’. It is a simple incantation to the virtues of Mother Nature with a repetitive breath which enthrals whilst leading one into the following ‘Woods To Conjure’.
Shimmering with heated sonic whispers against the reflective melodic beauty of music and vocals, the song envelopes and devours every pore with a dreamy intoxicating presence. It is a track which is impossible not to be inspired by, images and feelings awash as its artistry weaves with sultry curves. Once the soulful jazz guided horns bring their emotive play capture is complete and the song a lingering kiss of delight.
Though arguably the album does not reach such heady heights again it is a consistent giver of wonder. Tracks like the epic and muscular ‘His Portal Tomb’ with its doom darkened shadows and addictive drone, and the wonderful ‘Are You Coniferous’ are expressive and bewitching companions. Alone they show the diversity of the album, the first being a ten minute oppressive weave and the second a brief carnivalesque slice of lively celebration, its ethnic lilt mysterious and slightly dangerous.
The folk hearted ‘Sacred Marriage’ with wonderfully additional vocals from Marja, is a soothing and perfectly balanced song. Its emotion and heart driven energy adds yet another distinct and varied texture to the release as does the near fourteen minute tower of emotive ambience and psychedelic resonance ‘Unforseen Sun’ which soon follows in all its consuming yet reassuring glory.
Ending on a cover of the Ultimate Spinach song ‘Your Head is Reeling’, “No Holier Temple” is a fascinating musical glamour bringing whispers of the likes of The Doors, King Crimson, The Devil’s Blood, and Jess and the Ancient Ones into a new and unique song.