Hammemit – The Ghastliere Morrowe

coverAmong my music collection is a small gathering of recordings that I refer to as “albums that ruin other music for me”. These are the few albums that I would, without hesitation, give up the entirety of the rest of my records for if I had to make the choice. Every one of them is impressive for the unique and vital craft of the music contained within, but what makes them so truly special is their ability to deeply move me on a personal level. Listening to them affirms for me the actual potential of music; not as mere entertainment or a distraction to fill up time and stimulate the senses on a superficial level, but rather as a form of expression that can stir those primordial and essential parts of our deepest selves that lie buried and inaccessible in everyday life. Transitioning from an album like The Serpent’s Egg or A Blaze in the Northern Sky to just about anything else is akin to reading a book like The Magic Mountain and following it up with some mass market paperback; they reveal lesser art for the hollow shell of experience it is.

Since I discovered the enigmatic Hammemit in 2009 with the release of the noisey, surreal, and exceedingly challenging Nature Mystic, I have been absolutely enthralled by their obscure “mediæval music for modern sensibilities,” as well as the many other emanations from clandestine projects of the mysterious hermits behind this pilgrimage into the unknowing. Now that The Ghastliere Morrowe has finally been unveiled at a reasonable price by Fort Evil Fruit, I think that I am comfortable initiating Hammemit’s discography into that shrine of sacred albums. Take care though: the sacraments of Hammemit are not taken easily, and the truth in the meditations is not descryed without studious contemplation.

The Ghastliere Morrowe travels many of the secret paths that Hammemit has trode in their past pilgrimages; avoiding the plunges into hadal depths that were explored in From The Old Hills Desolate… while introducing subtle transmutations and new insights into the hermitical wanderings earlier expounded. Devotees of the band will be as comfortable as one can be with Hammemit’s unique style, but for those that are unfamiliar I will do my best to describe the character and spirit of this foreign sound. The primary instrument of their work is the electric guitar, wreathed in strange echoes and emitting airy drifts into the firmament, occasionally strummed chords that cannot be easily traced to any familiar and modern form of music, and hypnagogic trudges into old caves and catacombs. The dissonant tunings and keys could be related to some modern classical, but the atmosphere and mood that Hammemit evokes is unlike anything else that I have ever discovered. The Ghastliere Morrowe is carried by more than guitar though; minimalistic and ritual percussion occasionally drags the listener across some of these songs, an almost peaceful flute soothes our worn bodies as we lay by the “Sacred Hidden Spring”, the vocals range from droning chants to ghastly screams and eerie howls, and humming synthesizers shudder murky drones and odd melodies into the mind.

Last week I was talking to a friend about Hammemit when I described them as ‘medieval dark ambient’ for lack of a better term, but it really doesn’t capture what Hammemit is all about. There’s no part of their discography, including The Ghastliere Morrowe, that feels exclusively “medieval”, “dark”, or “ambient”. It’s often severely dissonant and alienating, but even when the unearthly screams lay their dreadful pallor over the cacophony there is never a sense of posturing “evil”. Instead, they seem to tap into something far deeper, where the normal human (or is it modern?) perception of the world is rendered irrelevant. If you search below the grime and filth of The Ghastliere Morrowe, you may find what I did: a meditative realization of awe and wonder interweaved into the veins of this oft appalling music; “Nature’s Beautiful Ugliness”, indeed. For myself, it is this feeling that defines all of the psealms of Hammemit and marks them as such a unique and special band, and it’s not something that can be put into words. It needs to be experienced for itself. The idiosyncratic wanderings of Hammemit on The Ghastliere Morrowe are once again as idyllic as they are utterly foreign; each song opening a window into half remembered dreamscapes where the borders of memory, impression, and dream have deliquesced into a nebulous recollection of some distant, senseless bliss. -Jake

Fort Evil Fruit

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~ by jakemoran on May 22, 2013.

2 Responses to “Hammemit – The Ghastliere Morrowe”

  1. […] “The Ghastliere Morrowe” also received high praise at Worm Gear zine, the veteran underground/experimental music magazine; “Among my music collection is a small gathering of recordings that I refer to as “albums that ruin other music for me”. These are the few albums that I would, without hesitation, give up the entirety of the rest of my records for if I had to make the choice. Every one of them is impressive for the unique and vital craft of the music contained within, but what makes them so truly special is their ability to deeply move me on a personal level. Listening to them affirms for me the actual potential of music; not as mere entertainment or a distraction to fill up time and stimulate the senses on a superficial level, but rather as a form of expression that can stir those primordial and essential parts of our deepest selves that lie buried and inaccessible in everyday life. Now that The Ghastliere Morrowe has finally been unveiled at a reasonable price by Fort Evil Fruit, I think that I am comfortable initiating Hammemit’s discography into that shrine of sacred albums.”  Click here for the full review. […]

  2. […] reviewed this excellent tape back when it was released, employing such descriptors as “half remembered […]

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