Hagetisse – De verminkte stilte van het zijn Review

Maurice de Jong has had a rough go of things within the hallowed halls of this website. Perhaps best known for Gnaw Their Tongues but involved in no fewer than 15 current projects according to Metal Archives, many of them of the one-man variety, the Dutchman has been reviewed here in his various forms eight times by my count. His scores? A shocking 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.5, 2.5, a 3.0 that our resident shark person has since demoted to a 2.5, and two presumably un-recanted 3.0s from former site writers long since missing under suspicious circumstances.1 That’s an average of 2.06; well under water. I don’t point this out to heap scorn on “Mories,” but to express my surprise that such a prolific artist, relatively well known and often sought out for collaborations, has fared so poorly with us. Today we turn our attention to De verminkte stilte van het zijn, his sixth black metal album under the moniker Hagetisse. Will we make him think twice before ever again hitting the submit button on our promo contact form?

Hagetisse is straightforward, riffy black metal and a far cry from the experimental blackened noise shenanigans de Jong is best known for. There’s a range of melodicism on display, both overt (“Daar komt het licht”) and more subtle (“Gekastijd vlees”), and nothing on De verminkte stilte van het zijn ever strays from a comfortable, almost warm tone and easy flow between song transitions. Mories, who handles all instruments, sprinkles a fair amount of spoken/shouted vocal sections amongst his black rasps that sit mid-forward in a well-balanced mix. There is the occasional hint of his experimental proclivities, as in the softly percussive holding pattern “Als de pijn dicteert” falls into for a few measures just before a supercharged thrashy guitar lead breaks the spell.

One of the things several of our reviews have dinged de Jong for has been a lack of impactful songwriting, but De verminkte stilte van het zijn has several tracks that succeed thanks to earworm riffs and subtle transitions that reward repeat listens. One of the simplest and most immediate riffs leads off the record on “Sleur mij maar mee in de vuurzee,” and the track is a standout for that and for the equally memorable guitar lead featured over its back half, but the real meat of this album is in the three song sequence of “Daar komt het licht/Als de pijn dicteert/Gekastijd vlees.” Each is highly melodic in ways that differentiate nicely, and each holds rewarding secondary riffs and instrumental left turns, like the previously mentioned holding pattern on “Als de pijn dicteert” or the tasteful synth line in “Daar komt het licht.” I used the word “comfortable” above, and while I’m sure a lot of black metal musicians would hiss and empty their ink sacs at me for saying so, I mean it as a positive. Where a lot of de Jong’s work for Gnaw Their Tongues is difficult material, Hagetisse has an ease to it that makes repeat listens pleasant.

That said, there is some filler on De verminkte stilte van het zijn. There’s nothing really wrong with “De Verminkte stilte van het zijn,” but it became a skip track on later listens. “De nacht van gezonken gedachten” is the album’s real clunker, and all the more so for following the strongest material. Closer “Een stille schemering” has a strong melodic backbone, but it feels generic in a way songs like “Daar komt het licht” don’t. One aesthetic decision that bugs me throughout is the heavy use of spoken word sections. This is something I rarely like in any metal, even when they’re in English. These are in Dutch, and whether they’re badass ruminations on suffering or instructions for raising prize-winning tulips, they pull me out of the flow of the songs more often than not.

At it’s best, De verminkte stilte van het zijn is very good indeed. I toyed with awarding this a slightly higher score, but in the end, there was just enough drag to land a 3.0. Either way, I appreciated the material much more than this site has historically when it comes to de Jong, and I hope you do too.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Babylon Doom Cult Records
Websites: gnawtheirtongues.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/gnawtheirtonguesofficial
Releases Worldwide: October 14th, 2022

Show 1 footnote

  1. Read as: nonsuspicious, totally normal. – Steel
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