Hadewych’s Hideous Sound Cuts Into the Psyche on “Mes” (Early Album Stream + Interview)
Music collective Hadewych look to a more sinister horizon when crafting their odes to the grotesque and incomprehensible. As such, their latest album Mes (knife) itself is an indescribable mass of pulsing, heavy torment. Not quite doom metal, but also not quite drone and not quite industrial music, Hadewych's own take on music, this transmutation of the horrifying into somewhat familiar sound, is fantastical, but in a Weird Fiction type of way. Mes transports the listener to some parallel, seemingly empty realm where the colossal and nightmarish exist. Alternating between emotionally vague, rhythm-forward sections and lengthy bouts of ambiance-directed cinematism, Mes is, in so many words, unsettling. Though this music is rhythmic, it is, at the same time, arrhythmic. Nothing moves forward as planned as these gaitless hammer steps lay stuttering blows to the surrounding black emptiness which swallows all that dare touch it. Let Mes enter your mind and transport you to Hadewych's realm–stream the album in full and read an interview with one of the musicians below.
When crafting experimental music, what is your end goal? That is to say, when you write these lengthy pieces for Hadewych, how do you look to challenge music?
We don’t really. That would seem to require some kind of meta-perspective, moreover, an outward focus and the intention to do things differently from other people. We just delve into what sounds significant to us and over the years that has shaped Hadewych’s vernacular into what it is today. One of our guiding principles has been to transmute grotesque abyssal vistas and eschatological panoramas into audible experiences, and this process does not actively take place within the perceived periphery of a cultural mainstream (or avant-garde for that matter). We just do what we do and some things work for us, other things don’t.
Most extreme metal, much like pop music, exists in a post-Romantic era, using the same composition styles and techniques found in art songs from 200 years ago. With Hadewych's decidedly Modern (proper) take on metal and industrial musics, how do you feel about metal's propensity for the familiar in composition?
What we do is not a revolt against tradition and even though there is indeed a strong focus on texture, clustering and other Modern compositional favourites, I’m sure you’ll be able to find the familiar in our work as well.
Perhaps our process is just not limited to traditional ideas exclusively–an attitude that stems rather from an intuitive approach than from any kind of subversive sentiment. Another reason could be that much of what we do is driven by a fascination with 'sound,' as much as by a dedication to music.
Mes is a decidedly tense listen, focusing on rhythms and textures as primaries to make its point in plainer speech than other experimental releases. In what ways do you focus on music's rhythmic aspects and what makes a good rhythm for a Hadewych release?
Since the previous album we have moved away somewhat from rhythmic complexity. Nevertheless, we still have three percussionists focusing solely on rhythm and acoustic textures. It’s hard to say something about 'good rhythms' in general terms, but regarding the kind of phrases found on "Hadewych III" for instance, I believe in retrospect what made these particular rhythms work for us is the degree of sparsity and spacing in them.
It is taken to an extreme on this track; to the extent that the "rhythms" sometimes consist of intense singular events–next to the more or less repetitive processes. This air in between also allows the clustered textures to hit harder when they do.
Do you feel Mes is a metal release? How would you categorize it?
Hard to say. I’d rather leave genre definitions up to the experts. We do not really use those kinds of labels at any point in the writing process or thereafter. However, the album was clearly influenced by extreme metal and it may appeal to a metal-minded crowd, but it was not made with that audience in mind specifically. It is heavy though, I’ll give you that much.
When composing drones like in the closing track "Het Ware Nader (Final Forest)," there is obviously a lot which goes into crafting the overall texture (I can hear guitars, brass, electronics, and more). What goes into crafting the perfect drone?
For us it depends pretty much on what the intention is behind the piece. The thematic backbone in the case of "Het Ware Nader" is a four-part narrative portraying cathartic moments on a path of cleansing, natural initiation, corruption by religious elements, revolt and subsequent suspension in an existential void, while continuously scanning for a liminal sense of meaning. I think if there’s anything that makes this particular track work, it is how the instrumentation and textural layering follows the narrative outline.
Mes releases today on Tartarus Records.