I’m not the biggest fan of instrumental music, but sometimes a band comes along and makes it work notably well. With 2016’s Aether and 2018’s A Ring of Blue Light, Hemelbestormer were just one such band. Now they’ve returned with Collide & Merge, which boasts a whopping 73 minutes of new material. Can Hemelbestormer continue their upward trend? We shall see.
This is a colossal album, in duration, scope, ambition, and breadth. Hemelbestormer’s brand of post-metal is evocative and detailed, and it is great to hear once more. It’s largely instrumental; note the word largely, as this time you can hear a haunting male voice on Quasar, and soft female clean singing on the title track.
Hemelbestormer craft music from atmosphere and feeling. The band have an easy mastery of the post-metal build/release mechanic, but also specialise is drawn-out soundscapes that use sustained atmospheric structures very well. Collide & Merge is well-rounded and expressive; it is an album that’s easy to put on and lose yourself in.
The album gifts the listener with a comprehensive and exotic journey to follow. It’s an engaging and immersive experience, one which should hopefully award the band a well-deserved higher profile. Unlike many ostensibly similar acts, (who usually have vocalists), Hemelbestormer make the most of a variety of different stylistic tools, ideas, and ingredients across the album; in addition to the standard post-metal ones, you’ll also find others that have come from genres such as post-rock, doom, ambient, and black metal. This increased scope, along with their extremely adept songwriting skills, puts Hemelbestormer’s output squarely in the same rarefied airspace as lauded bands such as Cult of Luna, Amenra, and Year of No Light.
The return of Hemelbestormer is well-received by yours truly. Collide & Merge is an atmospheric epic that draws you in and keeps you close with beguiling vistas hewn from post-metallic rock that holds many wonders. The answer to the opening paragraph’s question appears to be a loud and resounding yes.
Very highly recommended.