There are at least two bands named Hessian. As such, one of them is supposed to be referred to as Hessian A.D. I refuse to play that game. If movie sequels can be released with nothing more than an indefinite article added to the title, we can have more than one Hessian. In any case, this is the one from Belgium.
Manégarmr is the debut full-length for the band and the title refers to a wolf, who according to Norwegian mythology, comes out and eats the sun every night. It could mean something else, but I speak neither Norwegian nor Belgish.
All cultural insensitivities aside, Manégarmr is a flawed but sharp debut from a band that deserves some recognition. I think Southern Lord is the label to help them through these initial growing pains but I worry that the label has become such a beacon for bringing so many bands across the sea that the bands like Hessian that need more time to grow with touring, promotion and recording get neglected. I do not mean for this to sound critical - the tireless work Southern Lord has put into introducing us poor pricks to bands we wouldn't have known about otherwise is unparalleled. Hessian just feels like a band in need of some extra attention.
Part grind, part blackened, part post, all -core, these Belgites know how to bend a chord. The songs have a heavy, relentless flow to them that remind me of Wolves In The Throne Room, but with less sludge, less doom and, one would assume, less self-sustaining agricultural sensibilities. There's some interesting punk undertones on this one on tracks like "Plague Monger" that would be interesting to explore further. As-is, Manégarmr is a diamond in the rough - polished to the best of it's ability by Tomas Skogsberg (Unleashed, Entombed) and Brad Boatright (High on Fire, Sleep) but lacking any lasting indelibility.