The Hirsch Effekt – Holon: Agnosie

The Hirsch Effekt is a progressive/experimental Mathcore/Post-Hardcore project from Germany, that I’ve been paying attention to ever since I was completely fascinated by their performance when they opened for The Dillinger Escape Plan in 2013.

Holon: Agnosie is the title of their most recent release which constitutes the third entry into their discography, following their 2013 sophomore album Holon: Anamnesis. Starting the album off with Simurgh – Hirsch Effekt, the band confirms that their ambition hasn’t waned by a single bit, adding horns to the composition of the song. Overall, Simurgh – Hirsch Effekt serves as a three minute build-up, getting louder as it progresses, to create a gentle segue into the way more intense second song on this record.

Jayus was the first song off of this album to be released and kept my expectations for this record at a reasonable level. It’s a progressive piece with some mathcore influences, spiced up with some rough piano notes at its climax.

One track breaking the seven minute mark and a very short interlude later, we have Bezoar, my personal favorite on this album. Starting off abrasive and intense the song shifts into a kind of cheery, carefree sound right before the, kind of comical, mid-song interlude that reminded me of something you’d hear on a Die Ärzte record. I also really enjoyed the outro of this song, a very captivating, emotional string segment that builds a very memorable contrast to the rest of the song and also perfectly sets up the scene for the next track.

Tombeau is the first ballad on this album, bringing in more strings and also some acoustic guitars to create a dreary, sometimes dreamy atmosphere.

The band went about incorporating additional instruments in a very interesting way, introducing them in one track and then utilizing them again on the next one or two songs, but only rarely after that. This way the repertoire of instruments slowly increases while staying fresh and not becoming overwhelming.

As for the production on this album, there isn’t all that much to say, since it’s pretty much the way it’s always been. All of the main instruments have roughly the same space in the mix with most of the additional instruments taking a backseat to fulfill a supporting role. The drums and vocals build the bottom and top part of the mix respectively, with the lush, light guitars and the heavy, full bass in between. The screams and growls on this album are a bit less intelligible but fuller and more proficient in sound. The lyrics are still very earthly, kind of colloquially articulated, yet still presenting an abstract depth.

I feel like the band’s sound hasn’t changed drastically but rather moved to the next level, remaining as dynamic, creative and ambitious as they’ve always been. The song lengths vary a lot but never do they fail to create an interesting, captivating piece of music incorporating many different influences and genres into their sound. Going from post-hardcore, mathcore over math- and indierock, with elements reminiscent of The Dillinger Escape Plan, Between the Buried and Me and, as I’ve already mentioned before, even bands like Die Ärzte, the songs on this album range from emotional ballads to pieces brimming with intensity and energy.

In the end, I’m very pleased with this record and I think that Holon: Agnosie is The Hirsch Effekt’s best album so far and I’m very excited to see where band is going to take their music in the future.

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