Norway’s Hymn Feature Earth-Rattling Sludge/ Doom Metal On Crushing New LP

The Norwegian doom/sludge duo Hymn sound monstrously heavy on their latest album, Breach Us, which is available now via Fysisk Format.

The four-track release feels like a soundtrack to huge mountains falling into the sea and subsequent huge tidal waves spiking out of the ocean and barreling towards a shore. Diving into the album, the group’s status as a duo might be surprising – they’ve got just a guitarist and a drummer in the actual band (and also feature vocals), but they sound staggeringly earth-rattling. They’ve obviously got a stellar set-up, because there’s so much richness to the sound – the hoarse guitar tones building up the fierce blasts of riffing feel huge, as if listening is on par with peering into the core of one of those huge mountains or, alternatively, looking down into a huge pit in the earth that reveals many layers of sedimentation.

There’s a kind of awe-inspiring aspect to the heaviness — it’s deep and resonant, not just in-your-face (although there’s plenty of that aspect of the sound as well). Notably, the duo doesn’t sound solely focused on “heaviness,” no matter its inescapable prominence on Breach Us. There’s also a chest-beating emotional streak that runs through so much of the album. The powerful drum rhythms definitely help cement that aspect in place – they’re always thunderous, and occasionally take the lead at moments like the opening part of “Crimson,” which also features a feedback-ridden slurry from the guitar, as if it’s packing the sound of a mudslide slowly but surely creeping towards the album’s vantage point. The dynamic swings make the album feel like it’s packing desperation.

The album establishes its energy from the get-go. “Exit Through Fire,” which is the second track on the album, ends on a segment of (comparatively) slower, restrained guitar chugging. The song, along with other moments, like the first few minutes of the lengthy album closer, “Can I Carry You,” feature huge blasts of riffs that feel like a steady stream of dynamite explosions.

There’s a real urgency throughout the whole album, as the band funnel monstrous sludge and doom textures into melody-driven churning. Breach Us feels thrilling to listen to, like a view of otherworldly power.

5/5 Stars

Check out Breach Us below!