When you hear something named Herbal Noise – what is the first thing that comes to your mind supposed to be? One of the most obvious guesses is linking the herb to some kind of Stoner music and expecting as such – another possibility might be to assume that the noise is alluding at a very doomy or noisy project – however – there might also be the idea to link those terms in order to understand that the noise that is about to be heard might initiate a healing function. Eventually, you as a listener could also just not care and start listening without any presumptive hypotheses – I recommend a wild mixture of the final two possibilities to lead you into this 18-minute-mammoth of a release that is called Herbal Noise by Hadewijch.
Hadewijch is a Doom / Post-Metal / Gazey mixture of a band from France that released their first EP Herbal Noise this February – consisting of only one track that is called “Salvia.” Just a few weeks ago, Hadewijch named Bell Witch‘s Mirror Reaper as one of their most crucial influences and when remembering this 80-minute-monolith of a Doom Metal release – the almost 19-minute-long single track of this EP starts to make sense (apart from a lot of other overlaps). Similar to Mirror Reaper, it sometimes is difficult for listeners to follow the entire track at once. So what is happening throughout this one track that makes up the entire EP? We’re gonna have a closer look to find out what you are about to meet when listening – I highly recommend, though, not to listen and read simultaneously. After having been convinced – lean back and fully focus on the music – the surprisal is one key effect of this release.
This track opens up with a wildly buzzing and noisy soundscape that immediately feels like a vastly chaotic scenery. There is a lot of guitar feedback, thumping and it is not possible to detect any determined sound. The chaos is taken to a halt when the intro begins – the chaos abruptly stops and is interrupted by a beautifully warm acoustic guitar. The weird sounds that opened up this track absolutely highlight the transition into the acoustic beginning of the second sequence and the warmth of the sound steps into the forefront even more drastically. Gradually increasing the energy, the following sequence beings with wilder and more prominent drums. These are carried by the same riff pattern that opened up the track in different alterations and droning in more powerful distortion.
The energy that leads this track to its first absolute high is slowly decreasing again and finds its way to a short Doom sequence in which the opening riff is playfully deconstructed and played in several different variations. During this short passage – we can hear fragments of vocals in the distance that are set on top of the slow riffing – and damn they sound good. On the one hand it’s a shame that the vocals can only be heard for a minimal amount of time – on the other hand this absolutely emphasizes and individualizes this section. The Doom then consecutively slows down to an entire halt and leads back to the second acoustic sequence. And – damn – this short break and reemergence in the warm and soothing tone strikes back. The prevalent chaos only highlights the sequence more boldly. What then follows is the build-up to another distorted and energetic passage that feels to culminate in the climax of the track when the drums hit into a short and intense double-bass playing – eventually fading out in wild feedback noises and splashes of drum patterns here and there.
This definitely is an absolutely striking debut I liked a lot and knew I had to write about it after having listened to it for the first time – not even having been three or four minutes in. I’d love to hear some more playful acoustic and Doom passages that nevertheless succeed to naturally play around the same chord structure in different variations – and especially some more of them vocals!