ALBUM REVIEW: Eskapist – The Hirsch Effekt

For the best part of a decade Hannover’s progressive metal outfit THE HIRSCH EFFEKT have been setting the metal world ablaze with their impressive, diverse song structures and on August 18th they will release their most recent effort and follow up to their Holon trilogy entitled Eskapist via Long Branch Records. If you were determined enough to power through until the early hours of the morning on the Saturday of this years edition of UK Tech-Fest you may have already had the pleasure of attending the advanced listening party but for those who are eagerly awaiting the release it is almost in sight and you will not be disappointed!

Eskapist provides little precaution of what is to unfold as the album immediately inundates you with a deluge of frantic riffing and rapidly delivered vocals in the form of opening track LIFNEJ. Every instrument sounds crisp and precise which instantly sets the tone for the remainder of the album.

One of the most appealing aspects of THE HIRSCH EFFEKT‘s song structures is that despite for the most part being an insanely technical bombardment which hits you from all angles they are also accessible and catchy. There is a distinct melody amongst the chaos and the arrangements don’t give the impression that they will take a handful of listens in able to digest the bigger picture.

As the album progresses through the quirkily paced Xenotophobia (which showcases a multitude of instruments including a brass section) into the solemnly chilling Natans it immediately becomes evident that the three piece have pulled out all the stops with this effort, not afraid to be experimental and defiantly refusing to be boxed into any specific style or genre. Throughout the album a portion of short intervals break up the longer compositions mostly with the inclusion of a calming tone and piano segments. However, they are not necessarily required as a separate entity and could have quite easily been attached to the end of the previous songs without critically disrupting the flow of the album.

As Eskapist continues through the punchy, flamboyant riffing of Berceuse, the suspenseful film soundtrack quality of Nocturne and the incendiary pacing of Aldebaran you are dragged through a plethora of emotions which have been expertly displayed through their various use of vocal styles, shifts in tempo and progressive musical narrative but the song which displays their incredible diversity the most is the epic 14 minute Lysios. Gracefully floating through a differing breadth of musicianship with relative ease blending the ferocious intensity of black metal with a thunderous industrial beat which instantly gives off a RAMMSTEIN vibe with a stunning jazz interlude thrown in for good measure. The best part is every single second feels relevant and justified rather than overstaying its welcome and becoming too self indulgent.

Not only have THE HIRSCH EFFEKT created a stunningly evocative collection of tracks but the way it is executed is frighteningly meticulous. Despite the majority of the songs being particularly lengthy in composition they flow perfectly and the fact that rather than it being a hindrance singing in their mother tongue (at the risk of some of the sentiments behind the songs being lost) it only results in further elevating and complimenting the overall vibe which is truly remarkable. The creativity on display is boundless and combining their incredible skills with an abundance of different styles and instrumentation THE HIRSCH EFFEKT have provided one of the most thorough and genre shattering albums of their generation.

Rating: 9/10

Eskapist - The Hirsch Effekt

Eskapist is set for release on August 18th  via Long Branch Records.

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