HALSFANG
Vere Papa Mortuus Est (2013) By xDemoNx

2013 was a very productive year for the French underground Black Metal as many bands released their new material during this year, while there were also a lot of bands which made their appearance for the first time. Halsfang belongs in the second category as with “Vere Papa Mortuus Est” they made their first appearance in discography, although it exists since 2009. The band consists of one member who is responsible for the guitars, the bass and the vocals while the drums are played by a session member. So, this album contains nine compositions which have about one hour of duration. Although the beautiful artwork and the cover refer to a newer Black Metal sound, the album has its roots deep into the past of Black Metal. So, here the listener will find fast, Scandinavian Black Metal almost equally divided with a lot Thrash references.

The riffs that the band composes are quite influenced by the Scandinavian scene, they are fast tremolo riffs with much intensity and passion. The many Thrash elements that they add to their compositions, are rhythmic, full of energy riffs which create an interesting result. The structure of the tracks is very good with changes between the riffs but also between the Black and the Thrash style, making the compositions very “easy” to listen and while the album has about an hour of music, it evolves fast and maintains the interest to a high level throughout the entire listen. The instruments are played flawlessly. The guitars which dominate and lead into the compositions, they have harsh sound, they are violent, menacing and played with much passion, while they don’t lack of dark parts too. The bass is not clearly audible in every part of the album, but it fills the sound very well. The drums have powerful lines and they add energy to the compositions for the headbanging. They have a lot of changes, nice turnings, violent blastbit – bursts and they are played with stability and certainty.

We have come across the vocals before in a band with somehow different style of Halsfang, in whom Balkor participates too, Mourning Forest. They are harsh Black Metal vocals, in which the previous experience can be seen as they are very expressive, they are quite confortable inside the compositions and they make them more interesting. The production is somewhat dirty, but not so much to be annoying during the listen, and quite bass, it puts out a harsh and at the same time solid sound which fits to the style of the compositions. The mixture is flawless highlighting each instrument as much as it should in order to give a massive result. Finally, the lyrics are written in English and they are contained in the album. They talk about hatred to the human race and blasphemy, but unfortunately they seemed to me somewhat immature and superficial and they quite ruined the atmosphere of the album.

The first full length album of Halsfang is a good work, flawless regarding the sound, with elaborated and interesting compositions. But can this cover the absence of identity and of personal elements in their sound? The answer probably depends on the listener. Personally, although the album offered me some nice moments, energy and headbanging, that lack of personal elements was coming all the time into my mind. However the album will offer to you a lot of headbanging and some beautiful moments. I think that the moment the band gets out of the labyrinth of their influences, it will offer awesome Black Metal material. Listen to it.

1. Death's Embrace 05:55
2. Morbid Path 06:40
3. The Annihilation Song 06:28
4. Vere Papa Mortuus Est 06:39
5. Duos Habet Et Bene Pendentes 07:12
6. I'm Glad You're Dead 06:15
7. Yersinia Pestis 05:41
8. The Bloody Seal of Death 04:58
9. In a Pig's Eye 06:00