Hermh - _Eden's Fire_
(Pagan Records, 2006)
by: James Montague (6 out of 10)
It's always a pleasure to have one's curiosity sated after so many years. The name Hermh came to my attention back in 1997 when, having blindly purchased and fallen in love with their label-mates Lux Occulta's _Dionysos_ CD, I found the former's _Angeldemon_ album promoted alongside the latter in a music magazine. As an undernourished student I was unable to splurge on another unknown, and in time I forgot to pursue the Hermh path. Flash forward to 2006, and a promo package in the mail gives me that opportunity.

The band celebrates their ten-year anniversary with Pagan Records (setting to one side a five year hiatus from 1998 to 2003) with _Eden's Fire_, their fifth album. Like Lux Occulta, the band throws everything bar the kitchen sink into their sound, resulting in an extremely bombastic and theatrical symphonic black metal experience. The production is rich, the keyboards ubiquitous and not shy about trying to simulate entire orchestras, the twenty-page booklet glossy and elaborately decked out in infernally themed art. Inevitably the name Dimmu Borgir drops into my sphere of thought, although Hermh tends to stay on the straight and narrow, keeping the guitars heavy and not allowing the brutality meter to drop below, say, seven out of ten (I couldn't exactly rate it eleven now, could I?).

As with most slickly produced symphonic black/death metal records, _Eden's Fire_ loses its impact towards the latter stages, where a bit of breathing space would have been welcome -- there's only so many times the keyboardist can run his fingers up and down the synthesized piano while the drummer blasts away at a million miles an hour and the guitarists play indistinct accompanying chords. However, the earlier tracks impressed me more than I'd have expected -- "Prepare to Revolt" launches the album on a high note, the guitar lines displaying catchiness and personality and the keyboards filling out the sound unobtrusively without being redundant. The song is also the subject of a professionally directed and graphically violent video clip included on the disc. So although _Eden's Fire_ is not a CD I'll listen to often, the immediate impact of "Prepare to Revolt" and a few other songs indicates a mastery of their craft that will endear Hermh to fans of the genre.

Contact: http://www.hermh.pl

(article published 17/11/2006)

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