Album ReviewsReviews

Review: Burial Hex - Book of Delusions (2011)

artist: Burial Hex
release: Book of Delu­sions
format: LP
year of release: 2011
label: Brave Mys­ter­ies
dur­a­tion: 32:24

Burial Hex has been accru­ing a repu­ta­tion in the (post-)industrial under­ground for sev­eral years with a con­sid­er­able amount of releases, but for some had­n’t shown up on my radar in any sig­ni­fic­ant way. This changed rad­ic­ally when I was presen­ted with the two most recent releases from this pro­ject of Clay Ruby’s on Brave Mys­ter­ies, a pub­lish­ing house that is rap­idly becom­ing one of my favour­ites. The other release is the highly lim­ited Eschat­o­logy I tape, which is excel­lent in its own right, and which con­tains an exten­ded mix of the title track on this LP, the main attrac­tion.

The four tracks on this stel­lar album run the gamut from what has been aptly named hor­ror ambi­ent by some, to bom­bastic com­pos­i­tions of a unique kind, as well as mar­vel­lous ritual elec­tron­ica. The two open­ing tracks exem­plify the first style, com­bin­ing deep drones, pier­cing high fre­quen­cies that set an eerie scene, samples, and growls from the deep­est infernal pits. The par­al­lels with hor­ror soundtracks are per­haps tan­gible, but the music is far more than stage dress­ing. Through­out these tracks we clearly sense the soph­ist­ic­a­tion of Clay Ruby’s writ­ing, with few repe­ti­tions and a flaw­less sense of flow.

Crowned & Con­quer­ing Child” is a fas­cin­at­ing track, utterly uncom­prom­ising in its baroque lay­er­ing of growls, howls, and wail­ing gui­tars over a simple piano melody and elec­tronic pulse. Ever bet­ter are the choir vocals that truly take this har­row­ing track way out there.

If that was­n’t enough, the whole B-side is taken up by the mar­vel­lous title track, a stun­ning piece of ritual elec­tron­ics, with a solid beat as its cent­ral ele­ment. Vaguely marimba-like synths provide a bit of a bass layer, and the melodic lead role is for elec­tric gui­tar, and one with a dis­tinctly spacy feel to it. Again, this is a work so well-assembled that length becomes a non-issue. Dif­fer­ent instru­ments, voices, and per­cuss­ive ele­ments join in on the track at vari­ous points, and it never ceases to hyp­not­ise. You can get a par­tic­u­larly good impres­sion of the evoc­at­ive power of the track in this video, where it is coupled with a scene from Fellin­i’s Roma:

[vimeo 20775822]

The LP isn’t that long, but filled with excel­lent mater­ial by an artist that keeps push­ing bound­ar­ies in mod­ern under­ground music. Like many of his label kindred, Burial Hex has a unique vis­ion and the dar­ing to put it forth without com­prom­ise, and in this case, that all turns out bril­liantly. This is cer­tainly no music for the faint of heart, but will delight lov­ers of the eso­teric, obscure, and intense.

Reviewed by O.S.


1. Final Lit­any (4:17)
2. Urlicht (4:59)
3. Crowned & Con­quer­ing Child (8:10)

4. The Book of Delu­sions (14:58)