Hang the Bastard – ‘Sex in the Seventh Circle’

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    Hang the Bastard - 'Sex in the Seventh Circle'
    Hang the Bastard - 'Sex in the Seventh Circle'

    Overall Score: 10/10
    Songwriting: 10/10
    Production: 9/10
    Criminal Riffing: 10/10
    Pros: Absolutely everything. It REALLY is that good.
    Cons: That they aren't releasing an album like this every week...

    Needless to say, over the time they have been performing as a band under the banner of Hang the Bastard, their name alone was enough for people to take notice. Usually in such manners, the musical output lets this attention down…

    But, what can be said in words alone that will give this absolute monster of an album the justified representation of what it is? Usually a review will build up to the conclusion, but in this instance let me be clear outright; this is the best material and the best album that Hang the Bastard have ever done. Sex In The Seventh Circle is, unquestionably, a fucking stonker.

    Firstly, as I have mentioned many times before, there is a maturity and natural progression as a band evolves and this example is testament to what can happen when a group of talented and like-minded individuals come together to produce music that doesn’t only rip apart what I consider the already dying genre-borders but demonstrates that whilst anybody can build a band, only a few can do it properly.

    ‘Keeping Vigil’, a track the band have been opening shows with, is an instant and perfect summary of all of the above. Haunting layers and chants smother the liquid-chugg riffing of Sam Rice and the dirty, dirty low-ends of Joe Nally. The accomplished power-percussion of drummer Simon Grubb feels like a 50ft demon knuckle-dusting all the notes, keeping them inside the boundaries of the song-maelstrom.

    Much again can be said for ‘Morr’s Tempest’, a song with so many elements and sweeping transitions, coupled with Tom Hubbard’s blackened death-howls, that it’s almost impossible to get my head around it. Every time I listened to this chestnut on the way to work my teeth were grit and I was so absorbed that I’d probably have lamped a ticket inspector if they’d tapped me on the shoulder.

    Without performing a dissecting analysis of every single song, suffice to say that this collection of bangers has absolutely no bad moments. In fact, there are so many ideas and riffs fused together here that it’s almost criminal. I glance over at my guitars and wonder whether I should just eBay them now or whether I could use the wood for a nice bonfire…

    Another choice example of just how fucking incredible this album is, and how mind-bendingly magical the fingers of Sam are, is the majestic ‘Mists of Albion’. Tom’s vocals sound almost unrecognisable on a song that wouldn’t sound out of place among the back catalogue of some of the finest acts; it’s as if Earth, Electric Wizard and Sleep have gone back in time to smoke a house full with Sabbath and Hawkwind.

    All before now has led to what is arguably one of the best, though not THE best, song on the album, title-track itself ‘Sex in the Seventh Circle’. Each of the guys blows form out of the water to riff your eyeballs into your pockets. Along with the supreme accompanying music video, this song will easily demonstrate just what sort of material Hang the Bastard are capable of writing. One of the most memorable riffs they’ve layed down follows another haunting and instantly foot-tapping intro with a rhythm that will, without any delay, move your head like you never thought you’d be capable of.

    In all, along with a sneak preview of parts a while ago, I have listened to this album more than 25 times and it isn’t even out officially. Each time, I listen for that undiscovered moment of lurking brilliance and I recall the memories of watching them when they started out and as they have climbed the beaten-path to a platform that will surely, and rightly, go up and up.

    I should note that along with the maturity, and dare I suggest refinement, that has come to Hang the Bastard over the last few years, there is evidentially a mighty balance between the influences and skilful musical command that all the members bring to the table. Knowing the lads as I do, and as my perhaps obvious bias shows, I often find it harder than usual to be entirely fair in my objectivity of their music (in between my constant headbanging when I listen to or see them it’s hard to do), but I do honestly feel that with ‘Sex in the Seventh Circle’, they have not only provided the community with one of the finest albums of 2014, they’ve gone and produced one of the finest albums of the last 10 years. This sits amongst one of the best things I personally have ever listened to, and that’s saying something.

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