Toby Knapp, within black/thrash and, for a time power metal, rivals Rogga Johansson and Chris Riefert in sheer output and projects, side and otherwise. We’ve all heard the whole “signed with Shrapnel at 19” story, which is admirable, indeed. It’s 2023, though, so we’re only judging Mr. Knap related to WAXEN, and thus…
Robust from the start, ‘Die Macht Von Hassen’ sets the stage, all instruments mixed so as to give a sturdy sonic foundation to the blackened firestorm set to light before us. A semi-martial cadence on the drums soon slows to a near-doom crawl, yet loses none of its fervor in doing so, contorting to tremolo-heavy riffing bolstered by a groove (yes, a groove) with the depth of trenches.
Beguiling, ‘God Of All Endings’ moves deftly from a soft guitar piece to Scandinavian thrashed-out grimness ala NIFILHEIM, Knapp’s fretboard wizardry seeming horizonless, replete with classic NWOBHM touches, but more inherently evil. DISSECTION flourishes are scattered hither and yon, and there’s not much blatantly American in this one’s execution, but its crowning glory is that the tune sounds in no way cluttered, despite the multi-layered guitar tracks.
After an almost jaunty (2:02-2:13) section, – which seems almost tossed in just because, and interrupts the flow – the otherwise-impressive mid-paced ‘Those Reviled redeems itself, galloping, and spiked with blackness partway through (4:01-4:38), which is followed by ‘Your Kingdom Will Bleed’. This is the first time in WAXEN’s sixth where the mind wanders. Maybe there’s simply too much in the stew at once, as blistering cold, thrusts of progression and the ever-present shredding brawl for a spot, none giving nor gaining a foothold until a mournful, almost epic-tinged doom section, which is itself too soon brushed to the side.
By the time ‘Holocaust Light’ closes out this album at a goat’s hair over a half-hour, we’re taken aback by the production overall, which is uncommonly crisp and clear, especially considering the style involved. Think CARPATHIAN FOREST at times, yet much more (of course) precise in delivery, which fades at around the 4 ½ minute mark, only to return militant and marching amid channel-switching guitars, a Heaven – or desired Hell – for the headphone listener.
Overall, WAXEN has delivered yet another solid volley from its well-stocked armory in Die Macht Von Hassen.
Review By: Lord Randall
Die Macht Von Hassen