Founded in the magical forests of Finland, via the green and pleasant lands of England and Ireland, HEXVESSEL are wyrd folk. Formed in 2009 by Mat “Kvohst” McNerney, who having already made a name for himself in extreme metal bands in the UK where he was born and raised, and again in the Norwegian Black Metal scene, finally found his home in the land of the midnight sun. Settling in a country where mythology, tradition and pre-Christian heritage is still alive McNerney, (who also fronts 1980s-excess-tinged gothic pop band Grave Pleasures), found solace in the constant reflection of Finland’s pagan past, awakening secret knowledge that led to the formation of HEXVESSEL.
Since acclaimed debut album “Dawnbearer” (2011), HEXVESSEL have released two further albums of forest folk and bewitching psychedelia. They have played sold out headline tours in their homeland, been nominated for 2 Finnish Grammy awards, toured Europe together with bands like Sabbath Assembly and Alcest, graced the main stage at Roadburn in Holland and performed at SXSW in Texas, seeing their music on the charts and on many critics lists. They embellished their sonic rituals with mushroom-induced psychedelia on third and most recent best-selling album “When We Are Death” to widespread critical acclaim and continue to develop their sound. Their new album “All Tree” sees the band expand upon McNerney’s personal spiritual journey. Reunited with his co-songwriter from “Dawnbearer,” Andrew McIvor, they unfurl their primordial storytelling with a contemporary command of song-craft.
During the writing of “All Tree,” as he sat by the fire in his summerhouse in the Finnish wilderness, McNerney recalled the summers of his youth, spent listening to Celtic ghost stories on his father’s family farm in Galway, Ireland. He began to write music that grew out of that connection between myth and nature and wanted the album to symbolise a pathway toward a spiritual revival of the old fables. From a youth spent in pastoral England to the boggy marsh woods of Ireland, to his homeland forests of Finland, McNerney’s HEXVESSEL reveals nature’s universal tales of hidden spirits. The pagan wilds are portals to reality. You go through them and you enter the universe.
HEXVESSEL write songs in the oral tradition of the old balladeers. They weave everyman stories that create a bond between the teller and the audience, bringing alive a sense of shared purpose and spiritual history. With wife and collaborator Marja Konttinen, like-minded troubadour and co-writer Kimmo Helén, guitarist Jesse Heikkinen, the primal rhythms of Jukka Rämänen (Dark Buddha Rising), and the occult found-sounds of Antti Haapapuro (Aural Hypnox/Arktau Eos), HEXVESSEL has truly become a melting cauldron or “vessel,” a potent “hex” of spellwork.
Line-Up of HEXVESSEL:
Mathew Kvohst McNerney – Vocals
Andrew McIvor – Acoustic guitars
Kimmo Helén – Piano, Keys, Viola, Bass guitar
Jukka Rämänen – Drums, Percussion, Bass guitar
Jesse Heikkinen – Lead guitar, Acoustic guitars & 12-string guitars
Antti Haapapuro – Sound effects, field recordings, master of ceremonies
Marja Konttinen – Vocals, percussion
Daniel Pioro – Violin
Dirk Campbell – Flutes, Duduk
Read our review here.