Another change of pace from Holy Terror Records, "Shadows" marks my first exposure to San Francisco duo Sutekh Hexen, who've already released several demos, EP's, and one full-length since forming in 2010. Much of what I've read about the band uses terms like "blackened noise" (and indeed some of their material does contain tangible riffs that could be associated with black metal), but they also have tracks that follow more of a straight up dark ambient/death industrial type of approach (which I actually find to be more effective in some cases), and that's the case here, with the nearly seven-minute "Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadows?" (Some sort of Rolling Stones reference?) The bulk of the piece is driven by layers of subtly melodic drones with a little bit of wispy abrasive texture lingering in the distance, before surging forth into a dense wall of harsh noise and what appear to be indecipherably distorted vocals for its last few minutes. I'm definitely a big fan of the fact that even the grating assault of distortion retains a sense of atmosphere and feeling, though, as that always makes more of an impact. The B-side is laser-etched with the band's logo, and believe it or not also contains a locked groove (which is almost impossible to detect visually, but it is there) made up of a quick snippet of dusty grit over an ominous low-end hum. Very cool. Aptly mysterious packaging as well!
Since there's essentially just one track here I'm not posting an excerpt, but you can listen to a number of Sutekh Hexen's compositions over at SoundCloud to get a feel for what's in store. This 7" is honestly the best material I've heard from the duo to date, so I'll certainly be seeking out more of their efforts.
The record is limited to 300 copies—100 on orange (sold out), 200 on black, each with a 6" tall iron-on patch—and I'd expect this to become a bit of a collector's item one day, so... don't sleep on it if you're interested!