Released: 2016, Independent
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Seemingly out a nowhere, a new player reenters the horizon of underground black metal in the UK. Jarod Lawley, founder and only current member of Hex Morbidity, has returned from a few years of silence to release his new 3 track self-titled EP.
The EP itself is short and sweet, ticking in at roughly 15 minutes. Easily recognized by raw and minimalistic production, a quite charming element of underground black metal, one can only imagine what Lawley could achieve under a label. The realms of melodic and symphonic black metal would without doubt welcome such a promising new act, and one gets the feeling that all these are songs that would massively benefit from a more grand production. The instrumentation is skillfully arranged, layered with guitar harmonies, keyboard and fitting sound effects.
“Pallu Noctu” (Latin: ”the cloak of night”) kicks the EP off with an ominous and sinister keyboard intro before erupting into a delicate display of all that is black metal when the guitars and drums kick in. Here is everything; fast tremolo picking, pounding blast beats, elegant guitar harmonies, and soaring harsh vocals conveying messages one could only dare to interpret without actually reading the lyric sheet.
The second song, “The Spirits of Aldwych” commences after an explosion, before exploding itself into a fast paced monster of a song. Paying homage to victims of the Aldwych tube station during the Blitz in WW2, Lawley shows himself worthy of writing insightful and meaningful lyrics, with passages such as: “Draw your curtains! Blackout has begun. The eerie tone of air-raid sirens and the roar of German guns”. The song progresses in interesting ways, remaining aggressive and melodic throughout, and the rapid tempo changes give the song an enjoyable flow, not failing to keep the listener interested at all.
The self-titled track is without doubt the strongest one on the EP. “Hex Morbidity” is very similar to the two other songs in style, but takes the progressive route of constantly changing throughout. The song does not dwell on a single segment for too long, allowing for a good flow. The guitar solo in the intro is also a rare display of Lawley’s technical abilities as a guitarist, although also here better production would be greatly beneficial.
In conclusion, fans of melodic black metal bands like Dissection, Thulcandra, Carach Angren, and perhaps even Summoning will have no problem enjoying this EP. A strong beginning to what is hopefully a long and interesting discography, Hex Morbidity should be welcomed as a new player in the underground black metal scene. With Lawley having hinted towards performing live soon, this is definitely a band to look out for in the London scene in the time to come.