Review: Hazemaze – Hymns of the Damned

Whatever the Swedes are doing they can just keep on doing it. The 70s-esque vein Hazemaze have tapped into with Hymns of the Damned is an arresting wave of sonic concepts. The sounds of a bygone era emanating from a core of creatively crushing content. Although similar to their country doom laden rock brethren Graveyard, they exhibit a more Sabbathian approach. The dark fuzz feel of their recent release is like a creeping haze through your head that excites the mind into heading ritual of ominous portents. 

Hymns of the Damned is a wild ride through the underbelly of reality with all its grit, grime, yet bewitching trance. This unnerving sonic wave that emanates forth dances in the ears like the serial killer homages of Church of Misery. In fact, the aural landscape is not the only similarity between the two. They both have a tracks entitled “Green River” now, with Church of Misery’s being an instrumental interlude on Master of Brutality (2001). Hazemaze’s is a more in depth construction that goes beyond the namesake association to North American serial killer Gary Ridgway Church of Misery utilised. This inherently roots much of the lyrical material of Hymns of the Damned in the historical macabre. Associations with Jack the Ripper and the slew of killers who were ordained begin to bubble up like blood beneath the floor boards when examining the other strong offerings from the album, such as ‘Shadow in the Night’ and ‘Reverend Death’ respectively. 

As Church of Misery are brilliantly overt in their specificity of human atrocities, Hazemaze presents an ominous, brooding aura that proliferates the album. Their finesse in creating a sombre, driving, and at times demented, experience is on par with the expertise of Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats. Hazemaze’s diligent study of the infernal pays off leaving the listener “Forever Trapped in Hell.”  

Hymns of the Damned is out now via Cursed Tongue Records and Ripple Music and can be purchased here.

Words by Garrett A. Tanner

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