Released: 2012, Folter Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
13 keys to Lunacy and its first track wastes no time introducing the listener to the melodic yet blasty beats of Hallig. If I am the storm chucks you straight into the eye of the, well, storm, from the word go, and it feels good. It is the kind of black metal that makes you want to stand in the middle of a forest in the pissing rain, head thrown back and arms stretched out as it booms out of your sound system, as it seems like the only logical way to listen to this band.
There are moments of sloppiness; the drummer, when not going 1000mph and become a little more gentle to make room for the beautifully delicate and melodic guitar solos, is clearly not as confident when it comes to simplifying the beats. Considering the band formed in 2010, this can of course be forgiven. The clean vocals sound a little out of place when they appear, as they do take you by surprise a tad. They are, however, very strong and pleasant. If I am the Storm is a fantastic opening track.
Hadaler Traum literally screams at you at the very beginning the becomes a little more gentle as it progresses through the most typical key signatures of death metal; the slower bit after the initial blast, the proper blast beat section, the slightly slower blast beat, the ‘waaaaaaaah’ing from the vocalist, the bit where you are clearly meant to slowly headbang but in a much more graceful manner than those pesky death metallers do, the melodic yet crunchy guitar riff battle… do I need to go on? They could have followed the Black metal text book a bit more accurately, jeez. To be perfectly honest, some of the clean and melodic guitar riffs and solos are truly stunning.
Reinvigoration sounds like the sort of song I might like. And as it opens up with a glorious yet simple little clean guitar riff and the drums come in with a great little riff to compliment it, I am proven right. Good old ‘blllllleeeeuuughhh’ from the vocalist doesn’t let me down either. The song blossoms into something gorgeous as the vocalist breaks out some more of his silky, clean vocals and the guitarists really start to experiment with a few ideas that break the traditional Black metal mould once the song softens up, melting like a block of butter on a dish and becoming a glorious golden pool of goodness. At 8 minutes long, the track gives itself enough time to sit in a golden pool of gracefulness for a few minutes before blasting your face off once more for the last couple of minutes.
Am Firmament it something a little different; typical in every way, but there’s something that sounds a little special about this song. Or at least it gives the impression that you should hold onto your hat as the song has a surprise in store for you.
I sit and wait for it, and realise it doesn’t come along in as obvious a way as you might have expected or hoped for. Instead, once you have gone on their wonderfully galloping and invigorating ride with them and you take a breath at the end, you realise that it was the very fact that you feel like you have been swept on some important mission with them that is the treat you were waiting for all along.
As someone who favours death metal over black metal any day, I am actually starting to understand why this genre is so appealing; it really does take you on a little journey, and you feel energised and almighty as a result. Epiphany sounds like it might be a bit dull. This is just judging from the intro. I’m right. The only track on the album that is just about skippable.
It is at this point that I decide that I should perhaps summarise the rest of the album as I have already been told that I needn’t review and pick apart each song as individual songs, but review the album as a whole. So here I go, this is what I think of the remaining three songs, now that you have had a hearty insight into the first 4.
Nichts als Stille marks a turning point in this album; this track, Unter Menschen and 13 Keys are absolutely phenomenal and sound as though they have been written and recorded by an altogether more mature and creatively developed band. These three tracks are an absolute joy to listen to and one of them even made me pull obscure faces when it came on shuffle whilst I was listening away to my music in a coffee shop. The song guilty of making me screw up my face so much someone asked if I was alright, was in fact Under Menschen. Cheers, Hallig.
As previously mentioned, given a choice I would listen to death metal any day but I do not, by any means dislike black. I just have preferences. However, the more I listen to stunning examples of new Black Metal bands breaking onto the scene in 2013, and yes Hallig are included in that, the more I want to get my corpse paint out, slap it on, get my speakers and a waterproof cover, wait until it rains and run into the woods, head thrown back and arms outstretched whilst the crème de la crème of new Black Metal blasts out. Superb.
Review by Soozi Q