Hesper Payne – The Strange Tale of Samuel Gonzalez

Hesper Payne

The Strange Tale of Samuel Gonzalez
Works of Ein
This release missed my roving ear by some distance – ‘The Strange Tale of Samuel Gonzalez‘ was released by Newcastle-Upon-Tyne’s Hesper Payne right at the beginning of the year, and it wasn’t until towards the end of last month, following some slightly earlier but nonetheless late buzz on another metal site that I chanced upon this band. I’m glad that I did, because Hesper Payne are another well kept secret that the U.K. north has churned out in recent years.
The Strange Case of Samuel Gonzalez‘ consists of only three songs, timing at least seven minutes a time, and for anyone not initiated into Hesper Payne’s world – they’ve been going since 2004 – this is a wonderful, dark, unearthly introduction. Their potent brew stirs up a powerful mix of doom and death metal, the latter styling largely reminiscent of ‘Covenant‘-era Morbid Angel. This particular EP stomps and steamrolls through its entirety, serving up delicious grooves, daemonic beats and a journey into an underworld inspired by all things mysterious and Lovecraftian. The EP as a whole displays their incredible range, the title track a meandering nine-minutes of doom grooves, horror-styled atmospherics and an otherworldly tale, and the closer, a reworking of one of their older songs ‘Litany of the Drowners’, indulges itself in some incredible gloomy foreboding atmospherics that wouldn’t sound out of place during Cathedral’s most crushing moments. Inbetween all that, they do show some incredible death metal nous, not focusing on speed or blastbeats but on churning grooves and charging drum patterns that rightfully obliterate.
One of the awesome things I’ve discovered about the foundation of ‘The Strange Tale of Samuel Gonzalez‘ is that the band ran a competition where the winner got a Hesper Payne t-shirt and a song on this EP. Mr. Gonzalez is the (un)fortunate soul upon who the title track is based, while ‘Ospreys’ Jar’ was inspired by a fan’s short prose that is soon to be posted on the band’s official site. That, ladies and gents, is fan service.
I don’t know what it is about the north of the UK that leads to our country cranking out cracking bands time and time again – maybe it’s the whole ‘grim ‘oop north’ philosophy. But seriously, Scotland are spoiling us with their extreme scene and we have Newcastle to thank for doom/drone punishers Bong in recent years, and now one of the better kept secrets, Hesper Payne. In a day and age where the record industry is falling apart, constantly struggling to keep up with modern developments, metal will always stand strong having long got the knack of being self-sufficient. That it’s hidden a band like Hesper Payne from me until now is something it ought to explain to me though. This is quality stuff and should be consumed by everyone, at once.
Peter Clegg
Stream it below:
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