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Avant Garde

Hell Incarnated: Hagazussa – “Dyspnea” Review + Stream

I have only been recently exposed to the virulent strain of flesh-eating aural violence that is Hagazussa‘s music. I’m happy I have encountered this music, as it has taught me a severe lesson on how the human brain can be subdued and battered into total submission just through the sheer force of sound, and of how meaningful and pure this sonic punishment can be. This is stuff that isn’t made to please the senses in any way – more like made to create pleasure through the suffering of the senses instead, in some kind of inverted and sadistic way. One must take a leap into the rabbit hole, however, to attempt to fully grasp and understand this sonic monstrosity. Hagazussa is a noise/black metal/drone entity created by Viridian Sylvae, who at once was the guitarist for Santa Cruz-based Blackened drone/doom behemoths Folivore. Although formerly a solo project, Hagazussa currently exists as two- piece band. Viridian is a nonbinary trans woman living in Portland, OR. She is joined by Billie (theyeattheirowngod, EMASCULATOR, Acracy) on forthcoming releases, but “Dyspnea” was done entirely by Viridian.


Through these eight vessels of sensorial torment you will take a glimpse into a world of pain and suffering that you won’t believe is real. Think about our world and culture. Think about the ignorance that exists in every corner of our society that systematically tries to deny people their right to simply be and exist as they feel they are and should be. The denial of one’s nature is one of the most angering and blinding things one could possibly endure, and it can cause immeasurable suffering. And that suffering can transform into a hatred that the non-oppressed will never be able to understand or comprehend. Try to have to explain every day of your life to a bigoted society why you think you have the right to exist as you simply are, and not as others tell you that you should be just based on societarial and cultural constructs that are a figment of our imagination. If you think metal by hard “male” men is heavy ’cause they fuck with Satan or whatever – then you’ve never seen “heavy,” and you’ve never seen angry, and you’ve never seen scary, and you’ve never seen real sonic violence. There is a comfort and advantage in being a straight male in this world, and a lack of feeling real oppression and pain that can’t possibly yield artistic violence at such a level as this, when who’s making it literally feels oppression and denial of existence on their skin every second of their life…



Herein then you will find the sound of what struggle with systematic oppression sounds like – and believe me, heavy and dark doesn’t even begin to describe it. The premise is a dismal and suffocating supercluster of derailed power electronics and massive drone soundscapes that have the mass of a collapsing black hole. While the production is clearly lo-fi and raw as fuck, this mass and volume still brutally manifests itself with ease. It sounds like the recording is so layered and woven in such tight knit that its tonnage appears massive even through the emaciated frequencies of a lo-fi and DIY production. The mastery with which Hagazussa creates their soundscapes is spellbinding. The frequencies, drones, and feedback seem to swell and collapse like the breath of dark matter, or like the tides of the lava flows of hell. There is a majesty and artistry in this plague-eaten blackened chaos that is almost otherworldly, bringing to mind the abstract and darkness-devoured craft of acts like Wold, Gnaw Their Tongues, Sutekh Hexen, WRNLRD, Skullflower and Black One-era Sunn O))). The vocals manifest them selves as unintelligible hatred-eaten shrieks that make your skin ripple as they come to you like a swarm of hexes or spells cast upon you by a spiteful demon.

A boiling slime bog of field recordings, samples, drones, and various other forms of senseless pedal abuse then create the underlying backdrop against which all this sonic delirium is set against, evoking a permanent atmosphere of despair and darkness that the listener literally gets lost in, succumbing to a labyrinth of shapeless chaos and torment. As the listening progresses, you will also notice the timeline of events in this project as well, which has terrifying traits of self-disintegration. Tracks 1 to 3 are from an unreleased split with Scott Miller (The Collects, Al Qaeda, Sutekh Hexen) recorded in 2011-2012, and in here you can witness the primordial flame of raw black metal burning bright as it is consumed by a devouring horde of crazed power electronics. Tracks 4 to 6 are from an unreleased EP formerly titled Pathways of an Agonizing Existence, which was recorded in 2012, and these songs purvey stronger drone-doom and dark ambient leanings, but they are still slashed open by some of the most disheartening black metal screams you have ever heard, and eaten alive by some truly unsettling spasms of harsh noise and other industrial deliriums. A must here is the absolutely life-shattering spleen and intensity of the acoustic track, “From The Dawn” – a mournful descent into minimalistic sonic despair that rivals in intensity and pathos even the most accomplished moments in the discographies of acts like Ameber Asylum and Aerial Ruin. Finally, tracks 7 and 8 are unreleased one-off recordings from 2013, and these last two show Hagazussa’s carnal traits being torn up, succumbing and fading away, its very corporal essence disintegrated into the cosmos on the wings of an enthralling sound-sculpture of drones and dismal low frequencies…. A vaporization of the flesh which leaves nothing left but omnipotent despair…

And while you’re at it, you should also check you Hagazussa’s blood-chilling 2015 EP Antithecis:





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