'Hekate will need little introduction to fans of neofolk and neoclassical music. Hekate has been gracing the neofolk music scene with brilliant and sophisticated releases since the bands debut release in 1994. Over the past ten years Hekate has risen to the forefront of the neofolk / neoclassical music arena by releasing exceptional music releases steeped in myth, ancient culture, and revolutionary thought and philosophy. Hekate has managed to remain vibrant and relevant over the last ten years as well as remaining a defining voice and force within the neofolk / neoclassical scene.
Hekate's latest release “Goddess” is no exception to the bands well established reputation. Once again Hekate has emerged from dormancy with a recording that has exceeded all expectations. Goddess is every bit as ambitious as the simple title co notates. In a musical genre fixated on archaic Northern European spiritual traditions Hekate is breaking the mold by extending the exploration of the sacred into broader fields of reference. “Goddess” successfully embodies references to cultures as diverse as the Greeks and Romans to the lost gods of the ancient Egyptians. Though such a wide range of influence and inspiration may appear to some to be impregnated with stale “new-age” sympathies Hekate has seamlessly integrated these numerous ancient references of culture and spirituality into a potent and mind blowing journey through time.
In addition to the expansion of subject matter Hekate has also been inclined to continue the eclectic and unique journey through language as well as culture. “Goddess” follows in the well established tradition of Hekate offering compositions and songs in a range of languages including English, German, and French. Also notable is the bands references to various poets and of historical writers and revolutionary thinkers that includes the likes of W. H. Auden, Henrich Heine, Guiseppe Ungaretti, Charles Baudelaire, Fritz Lohner, Mathias Claudias and even a cover of “Ocean Blue” by Sol Invictus leader Tony Wakeford.
“Goddess” begins with the song “Morgan Le Fay” is a musical and poetical tribute to the ancient Goddess Morgana. The CD booklet gives a brief introduction to the goddesses numerous personas specifically focuses upon her numerous manifestations in Arthurian legends. “Morgan Le Fay” begins with somber synths and a delicate flute weaving a wandering song that is inquisitive and meandering. The simplistic beginning is joined by Susanne Grosche's familiar and magical voice. Rhythm and percussion join voice, wind instruments, and subtle electronics in a surging anthem filled with swollen emotions. The music delicately dances between subtle build ups and explosive and frenzied percussion. “Morgan Le Fay” quickly warms the blood and assures the listener that all the power and glory Hekate has come to be loved for has been lovingly preserved and carefully cultivated.
The fourth song on “Goddess” is titled “Morituri te Salutant.” “Morituri te Salutant” is one of the more illustrative songs on the album pertaining to Hekate's progress as a band since their last release that appeared in 2000. “Morituri te Salutant” or in my rough translation “Salute to Death” is listed within the CD booklet as influenced or inspired by the writings of turn of the century Italian poet Guiseppe Ungaretti. When “Morituri te Salutant” begins you instantly realize that Hekate is preparing to show the listener a side of the band that has until now remained shrouded. After a brief and cautious introduction “Morituri te Salutant” belches forth martial drums in an uncompromising tone of militancy, conflict, and resistance. Though ravenous drums and percussion are one of Hekate's well known trademarks never before has the band delivered a song with the sheer strength and conviction that is embodied in “Morituri te Salutant.” “Morituri te Salutant” evolves into a percussion driven anthem with strong elements of Arabic and Eastern instrumentation and musical influence weaved together with thundering drums. A masculine male voice fluctuates between moments of stern spoken word and full throttle shouts of “Morituri te Salutant!” Listening to “Morituri te Salutant” floods the listener emotionally with all the grandeur and drama of revolution and the eternal struggle for liberty against oppression. A sense of desperation and conviction of heroic proportions is communicated through music so epic it results in total spiritual and emotional obliteration. If you are not heralded to join the marching ranks of the defiant and rebellious after listening to “Morituri te Salutant” you might need to check your pulse.
“Europa” is the seventh song on “Goddess” and is also another highly significant accomplishment in and of its self. “Europa” incorporates inspiration drawn from the very ancient lunar cult of the Goddess as it manifested in the cultures of the Crete and Mycenae . The CD booklet explains that these ancient cultures observed the sacrificial offering of a garlanded white bull unto the image of a “White Moon Cow.” What Heathen could ask for more rich and mythic music than this? Hekate once again demonstrates a distinguishing scholastic prowess in cultivating inspiration and subject matter from a wide pan-European history and mythic vault. “Europa” stands out musically as one of the more unique and aspiring tracks on the album. “Europa's” lyrics focus upon the opening of Europe to spiritual and religious influence from the East. The music begins with strong ritualistic drums and moody electronics that create tension and a mounting and wave that build into another epic song structure. Orchestral elements quickly build the song into a monumental composition that delicately propels Susanne's voice as she calls upon Europe to “opens its gates” and “taste the fertile soils of the East.” Susanne's voice pierces the music with authority and dignity as she calls upon the mother land to yield its resistance. “Europa” embodies the feel of the albums “Goddess” title by showcasing Susanne's amazing voice in a position of power and authority.
“Dance of Taurus” is the eighth song on the album and another favorite that swept us off our feet here at Heathen Harvest. The theme of “Dance of Taurus” is particualry interesting and Hekate's interpretation of this theme is nothing short of mesmerizing. “Dance of Taurus” is inspired by an ancient legend concerning King Minos ruler of ancient Crete . The king was a dedicated worshipper of the sacred bull an animal mythically associated with the Greek god Zeus. King Minos instituted a sacrificial bull dance for his patron god Zeus. This sacrificial dance entailed having human dancers attempt to leap between the horns of an enraged bull while the King and his audience watched from safe distances. Hekate has reawakened the memory of this sacred sacrificial practice through music and sincere lyricism. Musically “Dance of Taurus” is a masterpiece. Tribal drums, percussion, and slight electronic elements create an atmosphere of passionate and sophisticated sound that elevates the spirit and infects the body with involuntary dancing and movement. As the drums pound and the music reaches ever higher your imagination and spirit take flight simultaneously. Male and female singers trade lead as they sing between festive and somber tones telling the story of the bull dancers. The story unfolds as the dancers are prompted to jump through the horns unto freedom! “Dance of Taurus” is an epic gem that is original and invigorating to the body and soul.
Heathen Harvest was highly impressed with “Goddess.” In fact it has played almost repetitively since it has arrived filling our ranch, home and forest with the sounds of our celebrated heathen heritage. Hekate has exceeded all of our very high expectations and we salute the band for offering such an effective and incredible release to all of us. “Goddess” comes highly recommended to all. If you are of a heathen heart and of a heathen mind you will be granting yourself a great gift by buying a copy of Hekate - Goddess. Every heathen needs to feel the full glory and experience the epic journey that Hekate has culled and created from the threads of our collective past. Hekate is delivering a neoclassical / neofolk sound that is nearly unparalleled in complexity and vision. Radical Faeries with a strong interest in ancient cultures, religion etc. will find “Goddess” to be highly provocative and will deeply appreciate the compelling themes contained in the songs. If you are looking for rich music awash in myth and ancient culture and realized through complex and passionate compositions drenched in romanticism and heathen spirit then you have found your sanctuary with Hekate.
Hekate has limitless applications for those looking for heathen and spiritually inclined music. With such a rich tapestry of mythic and cultural references the music is suitable for an endless list of applications that will only be limited by ones spirit and imagination. Close your eyes and dance the sacrificial dance of Taurus, invoke the undying spirit of Ra or swing wide the gates to ancient Europe ...'