Hex: The Hill Temple (digital platforms)

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Hex: The Hill Temple (digital platforms)

Wellington trio Hex sidestep the outright gloom'n'doom of much Goth by virtue of the powerful melodic thrust and reach of their female voices, and styles which range widely from almost domestic grunge-pop (the quiet-loud dynamics of Billboard, the forward momentum on the Page of Pentacles) through the ethereal and declamatory (the punishing space-filling shoegaze guitar landscape on Sight Beyond the Line and the claustrophobic Moon) to the metal-edge of the gripping Gardener's Prayer.

There is an elevating psyche-out quality at work here too mixed with indie-rock on the substrata of metal (It Begins with a Man), and it should go without saying there is female empowerment and literate lyrics throughout these eight, taut songs.

In a nice touch it is released on Valentine's Day, February 14, who might be recognised as the patron saint of lovers but also came to a nasty end when he was tortured and killed. Which might explain the lines, “love, love, love is the joke, we all want to get it first” on Sight Beyond the Line?

This is powerfully delivered, hard-edged rock with pop sensibilities (verses, choruses) and closes with the title track, which opens with an almost medieval folk-rock passages before becoming more and more a widescreen prog-rock epic across its eight-plus minutes.

Released through major digital platforms but also on vinyl through Flying Out in New Zealand.

An impressively consistent debut which should serve them well in advance of a US tour and an appearance at SXSW.

Recommended.

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