Monday 20 February 2023


Already carrying a Doomed & Stoned award for best debut album under their collective arms for their 2020 self titled album the next logical step for British Columbia's Hail the Void was to sign with Ripple Music, the world's best underground rock label. Hail the Void's mind-blowing melding of hard/classic rock, psych and metal combined with Ripple's knack for promotion and distribution is a match made in heaven, a coming together that if there is any justice in the world should see Hail the Void's stunning second album, "Memento Mori" securing itself a place on the end of year lists of all those with a love of quality heavy music.

Kirin Gudmundson (vocals/guitar), Dean Gustin (bass) and Lucas McKinnon (drums) have gone above and beyond with their latest release "Memento Mori", they promised much with their self-titled debut, "Hail the Void", and delivered on most of that promise, but what they have brought to the table with this, their second release, is on a whole other level. From the eerie droning white noise of the intro "Mind Undone" through to the wearied and funereal paced final track "The Void" there is not a note, beat or vocal inflection you will want to miss or be distracted from, this is an album that makes any skip function you may have on your listening devices totally redundant. Gudmundson's vocals throughout the album are astonishing, he wails, he croons he roars and he snarls and when he screams, on "Talking To the Dead" the line "when you were alone I bought and sold the world" he sings it with such conviction it's hard not to believe him. Gudmundson is no shrinking violet on guitar either his lead work soars and swoops, his chords crunch and crackle and his arpeggios glisten and ring. Gudmundson's vocals and guitar work is ably supported by Gustin and McKinnon, the formers bass work a blend of feral growl and dark liquidity, the latter's drumming a masterclass of restraint and power. Conceptually "Memento Mori" explores the long crawl we all make each day towards our final destination and the effect it can have on our mental wellbeing with lines like "did you believe what your father told you, this solemn life is not the end" ("Writing on the Wall") and "I'll wait till they call me by my name(" Goldwater") reflecting our struggle with accepting the inevitable. Given the subject matter you might find yourselves being fooled into thinking "Memento Mori" to be a gloomy and desolate affair and in some respects you would be right but you would also be wrong, granted there is an underlying gloominess to be found here but at the end of the day this is music situated at the doom end of the metal spectrum so a certain amount of gloominess should be expected, however for every low slung chord progression there is a soaring solo to counter it, for every thunderous tom there is a shimmering cymbal, for every growling bass run there is a flowing liquid motif, in other words this is an album where the lows are almost subterranean and the highs tower away into the clouds.

So we have bigged up the bands music, and the label that is it's platform, but is "Memento Mori" really as good as our review suggests or are we just blowing smoke up both the band and labels asses just to score brownie points.. Well the answer is both yes and no, YES "Memento Mori" is as good, if not better than, our review suggests and NO Desert Psychlist is not pandering to either artist or label for altruistic gain, this album really is SPECIAL and worthy of all the praise bound to come its way.
Check it out .....

© 2023 Frazer Jones

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