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Hån – Conquering Magnificent Halls

hån – conquering magnificent halls


Switzerland’s Black Metal monsters Hån returns to us with ‘Conquering Magnificent Halls’. First off, this album is very polished, they still have the melodies that makes ‘Facillis Descensus Averni’ such a pleasure to listen to, but it doesn’t have the grit. This shift isn’t a surprise though as ‘Breathing to void’ was already moving in this direction.

I do find it disappointing when a Black Metal band does go in this direction. The poor production and rawness that was present in albums of the first and second wave is why I fell in love with the genre in many years ago and I feel that it is a very important characteristic of it. Pristine production just doesn’t fit very well with the aesthetics of Black Metal. I find it more disappointing from a band such as Hån that gave us the aforementioned ‘Facillis Descensus’. The way the melodies sing through the necro production on that album is the definition of beauty in pure horror and something that many bands try to capture and fall extremely short of even coming close too.

Now before my social media fills up with hate mail, I’m not saying that ‘Conquering Magnificent Halls’ is a bad album because it isn’t, in fact it is still a very good album despite my previous comments, it’s a more than worthy addition to your Black Metal collection. For one thing these guys are exceptional musicians and because of the clear production that really shines through on this record and I can see why going in this direction is certainly a benefit to them. The songs feel very old school and yet still very modern at the same time, yeah, I know that doesn’t make any sense but that’s what struck me as soon as I got into the opening track ‘Qyntlatl’. It sounds fresh and its exactly the sort of album I’d put on if I was looking for something with a new feel but still sounding like it is still a Black Metal album.

It reminds me very much of ‘Quantos Possunt ad Satanitatem Trahunt’ by Gorogoroth or more recently ‘Aamongandr’ by Satanic Warmaster there are certainly a few moments where Gnist’s Vocals sound like Werwolf from Satanic Warmaster but it is just moments and they slip perfectly into his own style which is very varied. There is the perfect amount of lows, high’s and a bit of spoken/shouted parts in the background, you never know where the vocals are going to go next. The guitars are the highlight of this album and much like the vocals there is a lot of variation, there riffs go from dissonant to clean effortlessly and probably my favourite thing is they sometimes sound very Finish influenced to more Norwegian and then an almost Swedish Death Metal influence but all the while just sounding like Hån.

All in all, this is a very enjoyable listen and it’s certainly not background music, the musicianship is something you really want to just sit back and just let it consume you, as if you’re descending into void of your worst nightmares and they’re singing your most beautiful fantasies but in some distorted mockery back at you. That’s probably how I’d describe Han’s music, it has multiple layers and multiple faces that pulls you in every direction when listening to it and ‘Conquering Magnificent Halls’ is no exception to that. Does it live up to ‘Facillis Descensus Averni’? No, but to be fair I think it would be hard for any band to top a debut as good as that, but who knows their next release might just do it. I would say it’s on par with their second release “Breathing to void” but if you held a gun to my head I would have to choose ‘Breathing the void’ just because I think they bridged the styles of ‘Facilis Descensus Averni’ and ‘Conquering Magnificent Halls’ perfectly and it gives you the best of both worlds. If though, polished Black Metal with modern production is your thing, then honestly this might be your new favourite album.

My highlights are ‘Finstrer Haufen’ and ‘Qyntlatl’.


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