CD / Limited Edition Boxset, Hymen Records, 2011
“Avenger”, the latest full-length offering of Ben Lukas Boysen, the man behind the Hecq moniker, comes hot on the heels of his recent reach into the mainstream with the inclusion of “Sura” (released under Ad Noiseam) in a trailer for the greatly popular video game “Assassin’s Creed: Revelations”.
While popularity with the unwashed masses of Xbox Live isn’t usually one of the concerns in this genre, I personally find it refreshing when great music finds the escape velocity to exit the confines of tightly knit scenes and foray into the spotlight for larger audiences.
With that extra amount of pressure, Hymen’s release of “Avenger” requires similarly good material to be up to par with the hype generated.
And thank the gods, Hecq delivers. The awesomeness of the limited edition doesn’t hurt, featuring a wrestling mask, patch, sticker and button, and certain to bring a smile to both those reminiscing about the loaded special editions of yesteryear and the newcomers that are so accustomed to digital-only releases.
As for the content of the album itself, it shines effortlessly among the flood of ‘dubstep’. Opting for a different approach, a great deal of the material within may not be as danceable as most of its brethren, yet there is undisputed strength and complexity in the compositions, be it the heavy, almost industrial pace of “Shutter”, or the neurotic percussion of “Nihilum”. The album greatly capitalises on inclusion of melodic elements in the faster tracks, the most obvious example being “Pulverized”, which has a great old-school techno appeal meshed into its more contemporary elements. “Reprise”, the final original track, does offer a respite from the rhythmic work of the album, before giving way to an encore of sorts, comprising of five remixes. The Architect and Trifonic remixes provide a different sound to the original material, while Septic Insurgent and Anxt emphasize the more rhythmic elements. Deadfader’s take on “Bete Noir”, the second track on the album not to feature any drum work, performs well, pacing down the listener as the second and final close to the record comes.
All in all, “Avenger” is easily one of the must-have albums of 2011, ready to take on the newfound mainstream interest as well as keep the older followers of Hecq’s work pleased. Highly recommended.
— George Mouratidis