Demo:listen: Hexeth

This week’s Demo:listen is captured and taken to the lair of Montreal’s black death abomination Hexeth.

Hexeth is the latest project from the prolific Québécois musician, C.B. You already know C.B.’s work if you’re into Shezmu, Pénombre, Warslaves, or the recently Demo:listen’ed Sadomagickal Seducer. But even if you’re familiar with all five of his bands, nothing can prepare you—except for maybe playing all of those bands’ recordings all at once, each going at the wrong speed, while you’re in and out of consciousness/existence and stuck in a night terror featuring a giant spider covered in the flesh of a human—otherwise, nothing can prepare you for Hexeth.

“Hexeth is pure dissonance and chaos,” says C.B. “While I follow a ‘usual’ black death structure, all notes and riffs are dissonant. Not a single note is played to sound good, it’s made to go the other way around.”

Hexeth’s self-titled demo is primordial entropy harnessed only by the individual track lengths of each of the three “songs” that comprise it. Each track is a window into that world of Hexeth, which, C.B. says was “floating around” in his mind for some time now before he finally committed to working on Hexeth only a few months ago.

“The word ‘Hexeth’ is something I invented,” he says. “Hex being ‘curse’ and ‘th’ is Old English for the current ‘ed’ past tense. I went for the combination of both . . . The Hexeth is a cosmic creature that has been traveling the corners of the universe in search of something like him. It is on a quest to find its family, or anything that it can relate as family. The creature’s metabolism relies on its emotions and cosmic energy for its numerous powers. The creature has been searching for familiar faces for hundred of years, leaving its powers low for too long and deepening its lost cause each time it makes a move.”

It’s interesting that a musician as versatile in the metal arts as C.B. would unleash a solo effort that sounds like this. That is, like Mitochondrion improv jamming under the hypnotic guidance of The Curator, Portal’s vocalist.

Says C.B.: “I am at a point in my life where I have been constantly playing and writing music of different (metal) genres for the last three years. After a certain point it gets harder to schedule every bandmate and get some writing done, Hexeth is basically my own personal escape from a band’s original formula . . .

“The experience was freeing. The fact that I don’t have to deal with another’s opinions (and schedule) was enough to keep me going. As much as I love every one of my bandmates, I needed a project like this; where I can craft complex riffs and unleash my ideas to their maximum potential.”

Believe or not, though, those aren’t real drums you’re hearing demolish the barriers between your mind and the abyss.

“[The drums on Hexeth] are programmed,” C.B. admits. “Unfortunately my drums skills aren’t good enough for a project like Hexeth, so to keep my freedom in this act, I have decided to write and edit the drums myself. Though, I always try to make it sound real. A lot of velocity adjustments is required to make it sound ‘human’ and I usually get the drum takes into a tape simulator for an ancient sound.”

It seems ironic to me to spend so much time attempting to make the drums sound “human,” when absolutely nothing else about Hexeth does. And yet there’s something deeply existential about this first chapter of the Hexeth chronicle.

C.B. explains how Hexeth was written to sound like it’s unraveling and scattering deeper into chaos with each passing moment in order to match the gathering intensity of events and the “anxiety of the Hexeth.”

“The story will continue,” C.B. says. “For the moment I have chapter two written. The first one being the debut demo, and the second my split with Icon Of Curse, where the Observer gets cleared out of the story as the Hexeth frees itself from the Eye’s great prison of light. Another chapter will see the light with another split to come out later this year.”

Regarding the split with Icon of Curse, C.B. says: “[Skulviscerator] and I have been good friends for a while now. We started to talk because he is a fan of Shezmu and we slowly built a friendship through correspondence. When I heard his project I thought it was unique. Especially the fact that he writes drums before anything else—it gives a perfect crossover between black metal and a ritualistic drone act.”

As for the physical manifestations of these sounds, C.B. says they’ll all be handled by Les Fleurs du Mal.

“The demo will be out on pro tapes in July, and the split with IOC in August. The whole thing is being released by Simon from Les Fleurs du Mal—eternal worship to him.”

He goes on to elaborate on that other split he mentioned, and yet another band featured on Demo:listen is conjured. The other split planned will be with Void Tendril.

“I am very excited for this split since both bands are completely different,” C.B. says. “Plus they sound a bit like Mournful Congregation—I am definitely delighted! Huge thanks to Les Fleurs du Mal again for his eternal support.”