Hvile I Kaos - Beholden/Thy Olde Birch Gibbet (EP) (2016)

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As you follow the career arc of any band, but especially those inhabited by musicians considered to be "young," you can also track how they're treated over time. From young and brash to "mature," they are viewed through a different lens with each subsequent release. And while, in some cases, the element of maturity may in fact play a part - think Silverchair, post Frogstomp - it's often a crutch used to explain a tangible improvement. As if, somehow, merely surviving another calendar year is all it takes to ascend from wannabe to here and now. But I digress.

Having spread his cellistic seed across the world through bountiful, and growing, session work, cellist Kakophonix has not only shown growth in his worldview, but also in the way he wields his bow. Outside of doing studio work for Abigail Williams - which may or may not ever truly see the light of day in earnest - Light Being, and the soon-to-be-released debut full-length from Empyrean Throne, he's also refined his solo work beyond measure. And as a surprise that many of us needed to cap off the long, strange trip known as 2016, his solo project, Hvile I Kaos, is set to deliver a new EP as a snapshot of where he stands three years on from his debut.

The first of two songs on the effort, Beholden is an emotive masterpiece all its own. Standing at only two and half minutes, it bends and sways like a tree in the winds of a hurricane; never breaking, despite the massive weight. But as its time comes to an end, you realize that was merely the outer rim of the storm. Thy Olde Birch Gibbet, which forms the true girth of the EP, is Kakophonix at his cellistic best. It plays out as a melodic black metal piece, layers of deftly assembled strings swirling upwards from base level. The construction of the song itself may be what endears it most, as you envision a legion of long-haired cellists sweeping and tapping their bows across the strings, frantically shifting finger placement. Even as the song moves into more folk inspired territory, it never loses the sharpened edge.

How much can you really extrapolate from eleven minutes of new music? I guess that's the question you'd have to answer in assessing what lies ahead for Kakophonix and the Hvile I Kaos name. I guess conventional wisdom would say that, since he's survived three more years on this planet, he's three years better at his craft. But like with everything else in this god forsaken calendar year, conventional wisdom is wrong. As potential turns to reality, like it does here, you realize that not only has he shown growth beyond time, but that, with said growth, his ceiling has skyrocketed to levels you could only hope to achieve. Whatever that is - maturity, evolution, inert talent set in motion - we're going to need more of it, and soon.

9/10

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Hvile-I-Kaos-214891198546547/
Bandcamp - https://hvileikaos.bandcamp.com/