Track listing :
1. Enter My Void
2. A New Hatred
3. A Wandering Beyond
4. Chaos Supreme
5. The Ring Of Wisdom
6. Underneath The Fortress
7. The Flight Of The Dragon Knights
8. Interlude
9. The Nihilist

Total playing time : 41:25

I don’t know how many times I listened to this album in the last two weeks, but I still don’t find the words to claim the genius of this band. They are the craftsmen of Black Metal, a genre that desperately needs some today.

What Hegemon only practices is mid-tempo pure Black Metal with some fast parts, in a melodic and epic, but sober, style. A lot of the melodic influences are to be found in the Nordic style of the early nineties and the closest band that comes to my mind is the early Satyricon for some melodic parts, even if not as medieval.

Don’t expect here anything shining : no crappy intro, no useless outro but only one short acoustic-only interlude (using two deeply intricate guitars anyway). No keyboards, no female vocals, no uncommon instruments but nothing barbaric either. The composition of the songs is intelligent, using a lot of different but complimentary riffs and being never repetitive. The drumming composition is really high-class, really varied and fitting perfectly the changes of style from medieval or norse melodic parts to more grim and furious ones.

The sound of this recording is excellent and really actual : all the instruments are totally hearable. Its production would never have fit a Beherit, Blasphemy or Darkthrone album, but makes this piece of plastic a well-polished dark jewel. Hopefully the guitar sound is not the typical “norse buzz”, but instead a not-too-much distorted guitar sound, more personal, which allows Hegemon not to become another norse-inspired copycat.

When coming to the musical ability and the playing of the members of Hegemon, it is as good and precise as you could ever dream it. But maybe it is not a surprise as Nico the vocalist sings also in Your Shapeless Beauty (a Heavy-Black band) for some years and that the drummer comes from the (totally cult or really overrated ?) band Mutiilation.

Unfortunately, not the complete lyrics are printed but only some extracts for each song. They seem a little more though-out and less “cliché” than the usual “let’s worship Satan and sacrifice plenty of young blonde virgins with big tits…” ! That drawback is balanced by the austerity of the booklet, containing no childish photos or interminable thank-list.

Even if bringing no brand-new ideas, it is a perfectly balanced combination of rather contrasted factors. Highly recommended.

“… Why I am so cruel ? I need the void, I need the pain, I feel the stench flowing in me…”

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