Egypt’s metal scene seems to be most well known abroad for its death and black metal bands. Hecate is a more recent arrival on the scene. Lord Mist, the originator of the band, however, is no stranger to the scene having been involved with his solo depressive black metal project Frostagrath.
Hectate‘s The Order of The Black Light album production wasn’t what I was expecting for a black metal album – it wasn’t compressed to within an inch of its life! This production style allows for all the different elements to have enough breathing space. Some purists may deem this sound too clean for a black metal album, but the cleaner sound works very well here. Throughout, I could hear all the instruments clearly, and I felt that the vocals were well placed, being neither too soft nor too loud. ‘At the Borders of Infinity’ opens the album to the sound of a sinister, echoing piano; with choirs, drums and guitars all adding to the dark atmosphere. The mood throughout alternates, ironically, between sinister and uplifting. The infectious headbanger ‘Mighty Warrior’ (my personal highlight of the album) brings an uplifting mood, whilst the title track follows with an atmosphere that conjures up images of transcending to a dark realm.
Instead of using a distorted guitar tone exclusively, Lord Mist (who plays all instruments on the album) makes use of clean guitars as well. The simultaneous use of a distorted and clean tone makes for an interesting musical contrast on tracks such as ‘The Order of The Black Light’ and ‘Infernal War’. Another fascinating contrast is the use of slower interludes in between blistering blast-beats. Throughout the album, these dramatic tempo changes work well and don’t take away from the coherency of the tracks. One such slower interlude is an acoustic part used in ‘Mighty Warrior’ – with the acoustic part then echoed by the electric guitar. The layering of another riff on top of that one reminded me of the counter-rhythms often used by Burzum. At its core, The Order of The Black Light strikes me as an “orthodox” black metal album, but its sound is by no means a slavish aping of the older Norwegian bands. I would place Hecate among the ranks of bands such as Watain who are putting a fresh spin on the orthodox black metal style.
The album consists of Adam, who provided lyrics and vocals, with Osama ‘Lord Mist’ Azzam, bringing up all of the instrumentation as well as lyrics, mixing and mastering. Enjoy!