While you sleep, the members of Bay Area black metal noise project Sutekh Hexen don’t. Right? How else could they put out 15 releases in three years, tour the US, and, in the case of guitarist/mastermind Kevin Gan Yuen, find time to develop an endless string of eye-popping album designs for everyone from Aidan Baker to Ash Borer? The band embodies the rare combination of a prolific release schedule and a finely tuned sense of quality control, which has won them a metal militia of fans devoted enough to snatch up every release before the casual listener even has a chance to sample the goods. After the more widely available Behind the Throne LP on Magic Bullet and this year’s collaborative album with Andrew Liles, Sutekh Hexen’s profile is higher than ever, but this doesn’t mean that they’re resting on their thorn-laced laurels. More releases on more formats, more shows, more sonic doom, perhaps deeper than ever; the sleepless existence carries on.
After a sold out die-hard collector edition on reel-to-reel tape — the grimmest physical medium? — the Become sessions see a wider release on vinyl via King of the Monsters Records. Check out an excerpt from the EP’s first side, “Five Faces of Decay,” below. Hear a haze of static and low-end drone bury Yuen’s ominous two-chord guitar progression while A.C. Way’s vocal shrieks reach us from what seems to be a bottomless chasm of delay. As the session moves through multiple dynamic movements (each one its own “face of decay,” maybe?), voices and guitar lines funnel down into a layered mire of blackened noise capable of splitting speakers right open at maximum volume. Sutekh Hexen find the middle ground between evil ambience and distorted ferocity, resulting in a side-long composition capable of terrifying and entrancing its audience.
The order page for Become is up on the band’s webstore, but no release date has been listed yet. Keep an eye out in the next couple weeks for the moment to strike.