Reviewed: October 2021
Released: 2021, Fresh Tea
Reviewer: Kieron Hayes
It was easy to see how this whole thing would affect the music business, and we just went straight into this new project instead of hoping for a possible gig or two. Actually it was great to be able to focus all my attention on this new record and not have to worry about playing live while recording it.
Deciding to knuckle down and make the best of the on-going pandemic situation, Hex A.D. have taken the opportunity to focus their efforts entirely on crafting a new album, and what we’ve ended up with is a solid slab of stoner doom at the core, but with a wide range of influences worn proudly and prominently throughout.
While the album has enough consistency to sound coherent, never devolving into anything erratic or stretched thin, it’s got some real strength in that range of influential elements the band has sought to incorporate. Tracks like “Got the Devil by the Tail” and “All the Rage” are classic epic doom, sticking to a steady, methodical stomp that rises in intensity as it goes along. “Hell Hath No Fury” sprinkles in some more mystical passages to lend a really enjoyable texture to it: it maintains the melancholic feel, but with brightness mingled with the gloom and the dark.
Elsewhere, things are readily ramped up. “Seven Blades” immediately calls classic Virgin Steele to mind with a big, bold sound telling epic tales. “Painting with Panic” is a short and simple burst of stoner groove; infectiously catchy, it delivers what it needs to and gets out again without unnecessary ceremony. Meanwhile, “Positively Draconian” rounds the album off in suitably grand fashion, with gorgeous piano work sitting alongside Rick Hagan’s gentle yet stirring vocals, all of it rising higher and higher into something increasingly epic until the rockets ignore and it blasts off into space. It’s one of those long pieces that’s entertaining throughout, but especially rewarding for all the build it works on.
All in all, Funeral Tango for Gods & Men isn’t reinventing anything, but it’s a firmly rewarding piece of work for heavy music fans as a whole and a product of talent and time well spent.