Hot off the sampler grill is a heavy/power metal act out of Italy known as Hextar. Their self-titled EP gives off some immense vibes from the early German power scene, heavily reflective of Helloween specifically. This is likely why it caught my attention so quickly, as it’s quite speed-oriented, garnished with colorful toppings. Synths become as prominent as the lead guitars at times, given away by the “Site Transitoire” intro sounding right out of an ‘80s film.
Hextar is a very front-loaded disc in the sense that the guitars are boasted up to extremely intense degrees. However, they never really feel too threatening, and the vocals match it so well. “Heavy Words” reassures you that no basslines are going to fall out from the bottom, opening on a tremendous thump. Twinkling pianos and keys work their way into the background for the chuggier parts. The chime adds to the chorus truly casts a magical feeling. And of course, your shredding solos make the anticipated appearance.
This dynamic can lead to what feels like mini-epic attempts. Closer “The Stand” screams that in the intro, and the transitions from calm synths to blistering riffs are incredible. The piano at the end was the perfect way to close everything off. And to remain consistent, the vocal delivery still remains welcoming. Understandably, this all may sound like a turn-off to some, but the reason why it works so well is that they manage to hold onto stellar riffing for the whole duration. “Sword Of Damocles” is quite a sugary number, covered in extra cleanliness, yet the weaving fret-taps and hard-hitting drums coexist with the rhythms so well. Even near the end, you can get a quick taste of something shifting to a darker tone, just for a few seconds.
For something so quick and unoriginal, Hextar have truly mastered an incredible taste of where their musical paths will lead. Even for someone like me who isn’t big on fantastical sounding power metal, this absolutely slays. Anyone into fast but clean heavy metal and an ear for shredding should give this a go, and you’ll likely find yourself wanting more. I very much look forward to a full-length.
Hextar came out on April 17th, 2020. Hear it in all of its glory at the Bandcamp page.