Tales From the Metalnomicon: Vanessa Hexe Takes Death-Doom From the Fretboard to the Typewriter

From Wooden Stake and Surgikill to Vaultwraith and Cauldron Burial, Vanessa Hexe has built a well-earned reputation as an uncompromising, multidimensional dark visionary in the extreme music realm.

Now, after a brief evolutionary cloistering, she is back with an multimedia vengeance, launching a new label (HexeCoven Records), “a bookzine series dedicated to horror and exploitation films, extreme underground art and music, and all things weird and bizarre” (Nekromantikal Screams), and Vexed Vamp Publications, through which she has just issued a remarkable and affecting debut volume of harrowing-by-way-of-beautiful poetry, A Winter Darkly.

“I’ve always written poetry,” Hexe tells Decibel. “It’s not too different from writing lyrics. When I write lyrics, I usually start with pieces and flesh them out to the music. With poems they assemble themselves through what I don’t what else to refer to but automatic writing.

“For the longest time I threw ideas around but then my late grandmother’s typewriter was bestowed upon me and I loved the idea of the poems being typed with that as she herself used to write poetry and type them on the same typewriter,” she continues. “I typed out the poems, hand wrote the titles, scanned the pages. I made the covers and stamped them and stapled it all together into chapbooks. It was a long time in the making but I love how they came out and I’m already planning future chapbooks.”

To mark the release Hexe kindly agreed to assemble the following writing playlist to let readers know where her and ears were at while conjuring A Winter Darkly — and, perhaps, to inspire others’ literary rituals.

1. GRAVELAND: “Barbarism Returns”

When I’m writing poetry, I mainly listen to instrumental music, but this song’s vocals are so instrumental themselves in the mix of the music it isn’t distracting while I’m working. The whole Carpathian Wolves album could be on my list, but this song in particular really brings out an acerbic bitterness which comes through in some of the works in A Winter Darkly. In my poem Moonlit Path, this song is present is in the lines, “I could walk this forest for days/Winter mix swirls the atmosphere/
DoesDeath know I’m the only one here?”

2. LURKER OF CHALICE: “Piercing Where They Might”

Another song with vocals on my list but my reasoning is the same. Again, this whole album is quite often in the background while I write — though not an actual quote from her, note the homage to Sylvia Plath with a line lifted from the movie Sylvia. The opening lines from the poem “Distant Dirges in Darkness” matches the bleak vibe going through this song:”Enveloped in black rotting sky/Moon splintered through trees/Where fallen angels lie…”

3. METALLICA: “Call of Ktulu”

This is one of the songs that made me become a musician and it’s on my writing playlist as well. There are many influences here with this one. After spending 81 days in Denmark with my boyfriend, I needed the perfect song to evoke a Lovecraft presence for one of my poems dedicated to Simon (my boyfriend) titled “Caged Animals.” We both share the love of his works and I envisioned/dreamed our souls were tentacle-ridden — much like Cthulhu — and with the lines, “I pull you into me/Wrap around you like tenacious vines,” conveys what this song helped summon within me.

4. YEARNER: “Evenings (In Remembrance)”

Wow! It makes since this is the main source of my inspiration for this chapbook zine of poetry. Winternight is one of the greatest dungeon synth releases out there and it serves as my favorite writing go-to demo/album. This is the opening track and it sets the perfect mood for composing poetry. Almost as if automatic writing took place, as this song started the words came for my poem “Led Into the Bewitched Forest”: “A shadow glides across the path/Nothing there to cast/Is it a lost soul perhaps?/Or a ghost from a lonely past…”

5. YEARNER: “In Days of Yore”

This musical piece is deep synth with a relentless drive through it and so inspiring. I wrote the poems” Whispers in Smoke” and “Whispers in Smoke (II)” to this one. Since there are no lyrics, I sometimes make up my own and hum along. My dreams come through as lost lyrics for these songs…

Soul emerging from the bowels
Seeping through a gaping mouth
Become one with the clouds
A gossamer shroud…