There’s only one thing that is more difficult than the anticipation of listening to the new release by a band that you simply adore, and that is is reviewing it. Of course, I will hear you yell, I don’t have to review it – but seeing as I review heaps of other old bollocks, then I really ought to step up to the plate and give this one a damn good thrashing.
The last record that HFTS put out, ‘Arson’, is, in my mind, almost flawless. They have a unique sound that they build from a variety of genres and, ultimately, come up with a post-black hardcore-infused form of atmospheric, galloping beauty. On ‘Maere’ they have retained that formula yet added a deeper swell of emotion and, dare I say, a little bit more of a progressive edge.
Opener ‘I, Pallbearer’ introduces itself with the willowy tendrils of aesthetic allure and builds into a cathedral of a record filled with exceptional tracks such as the previously released ‘Sing For The Damage We’ve Done’, ‘Once Upon A Winter’ and the most honest to their sound ‘Time Is A Ghost’. It is still admirable how this band do find such emotional sway within their varied and highly considered dynamics. This is writing with a fine tooth comb.
Yes, this record is long and yes, I would suggest it might be a bit too long. Bands such as HFTS do write rather lengthy songs though so, I suppose, you do get your money’s worth. I am not yet sure that this record has reached the point in my psyche that ‘Arson’ did – but, having now heard it three or four times, I can report that the early signs are looking good…!