Dutch 8/10 Review

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For a moment it seems as if something went wrong in the distribution of the CDs to be reviewed. Have I now received the new album by the Rosenberg trio? The gypsy jazz that blares from the speakers turns out to be the intro to "Astro Tongue In The Electric Garden", the latest piece of work by Hex A.D. and lasts less than a minute. Just not enough to find out exactly what is wrong with the title "Elle Est Mort". Then the tone changes. Not just a little bit, but radically. Gone is the Reinhardt-like strumming on the acoustic guitar and instead fat proto metal sounds with a heavy psychedelic doom. Everything in "Deadly Nightshade", from the prominent organ parts to the abundant guitar solos, breathes the early seventies. The hippie mantra “Turn on, tune in, drop out” enhances the retro feeling. The men behind the Hex AD denominator appear to be four experienced Norwegians who have made their mark in the service of greats such as Blaze Bayley, Paul DiAnno (both best known for their time with Iron Maiden) and Tim 'Ripper' Owens (Iced Earth, Judas Priest). If you then see Rowan Robertson, who is once active at Dio, in the list of special guests, it is clear where Hex A.D.will get the mustard-dill sauce for the stockfish. "Astro Tongue ..." is a journey through time to a past in which progressive heavy music was still commonplace. Jethro Tull, Uriah Heep, Rainbow… these are just a few names that come to mind when listening to this album. But we do this band too short if we dismiss them as yet another retro act. The mellotrons, Hammond organs and Theremins and a theme that drifts from science fiction to the Vietnam War, it is not just old-fashioned hard rock and floaty prog that strikes the clock. Hex A.D. is a band that flickers all these ingredients in a big blender and makes something that is both in line with the tradition of progressive hard rock from the seventies and is mirrored by its more modern version. The Porcupine Trees and Opeths of this world so to speak. But with a heavy bluesy boogie that ensures that "Astro Tongue in the Electric Garden" steams like a locomotive powered by pure red Lebanon. The pièce de resistance of the album is the long epic "The Monsoon Suite". A 25-minute monster divided into three chapters that, some fifty years later, reflects on the horrors of the Vietnam War. Ambitious? Absolutely. Slightly hysterical and over the top? Actually, yes, but it doesn't bother. From the growling Black Sabbath riffs at the beginning to the slowly floating guitar and piano chords at the end, it is a fascinating whole. In itself a nice ending of an entertaining album, but that is not counted. Hex A.D. has another dessert for us, in the form of a bonus track called "Grace And Pain". A relatively short song that certainly goes for his goal without any fuss, for Hex A.D.standards, banging the listener headbanging with a solid uppercut final knockout. Those who love classic hard rock should definitely go to "Astro Tongue"