Record Label: Long Branch Records
Release Date: 26 March 2021
For Fans Of: Mr. Bungle, Leprous, Thank You Scientist
If there’s one thing we should have come to expect from German prog mavericks The Hirsch Effekt, it’s the unexpected, but a four-track re-imagining of a handful of album deep cuts and one new song for good measure, all with a 17-piece orchestra is still a shock.
The crew has made a smart move in completely re-recording these tracks, giving the two elements of band and orchestra a more organic blend. While they’re at it, they’ve shed some of the hyper-clean tech-metal sheen of their studio albums, resulting in something more lively, rich and downright vital than the original versions were.
Where many bands of the djentier persuasion will chuck on a washy string section to fill space between chugs, The Hirsch Effekt have absorbed the orchestra in a dramatic and shamelessly theatrical way. At the risk of sounding less sleek than those other bands, they’ve created something way more original; this is Prog-metal meets ‘50s Hollywood score.
‘Natans’, has been transformed from a slightly overproduced djent anthem to a lush jazz-rock triumph with tooting horns and glacial choral vocals. ‘Domstol’ starts as a villainous dirge before exploding into a Patton-esque rush of off-beat riffs in the mid-section. ‘Kollaps’, the phenomenal title track from last year’s album, sounds even more dynamic here, swapping between heavenly choruses and guttural screams punctuated by ominous trumpets.
Despite being the only new track, ‘Gregær’ slots in perfectly with Dillinger-style riffage giving way to reverb-laden math-rock, violins swirling around the chaos with grace.
Rarely do a handful of re-recorded songs from a stop-gap EP match the originals, but The Hirsch Effekt have gone one step further, improving these tunes in every conceivable way. Having already proved themselves as rulebreakers of the tech scene, they’ve rewired their own DNA and made something totally unique, showing up most of their milquetoast contemporaries and making it look easy. If this is any indicator of what their next full-length will sound like, we may have a genre-classic on our hands.
Recommnded Track: ‘Gregær’