The light is finally shining down on Hebosagil. Hailing from the northerly climes of Oulu, Finland, this hard-assed yet cerebral crew first assembled in 2003, as a sludgy but decidedly left-field doom metal act. The resulting din grew leaner, sharper, and punkier over time, gradually shedding its youthful blackness and evolving into a sinewy and scalding take on noise rock. For its fourth album, 2016’s Lohtu (“Solace”), the band cushioned that approach with unprecedented nuance and restraint; faint sunbeams began to stream through tiny cracks in the sound’s previously impenetrable surface. Now the foundation of the music itself has been shaken.
Compiling the contents of Fortuna (“Fortuna”) and Kevät (“Spring”), two digital-only EPs recorded during the last couple of years, Hebosagil’s latest vinyl offering is an incandescent leap forward that unapologetically embraces lush beauty and symphonic warmth. The bones of the extended compositions remain heavier than plutonium millstones, but thickset pop hooks, uplifting chord progressions, and crystalline female vocals define the mood as much as radioactive distortion and body-checking rhythms. Hymnal melodies and understated recitations provide an emotional counterbalance to singer Tatu Junno’s raw-throated gargle and disturbing lyrical imagery. Currently operating as an expanded three-guitar sextet, Hebosagil has masterfully sussed out the elusive nexus between brute force and luminous grace.
Jordan N. Mamone, New York City
February 13, 2019