Evil Spirits Who Prowl the World Seeking The Ruin Of Souls by Haq123Release date: April 27, 2020
Label: Self Released
Birmingham’s industrious doom punk youngsters Haq123 aren’t hanging about. Their third album Evil Spirits Who Prowl the World Seeking The Ruin Of Souls is released April 27th to coincide with three years, three months and three days since their first ever practice. Three members, three albums, three years. Such pleasing cosmic numerology seems appropriate enough as this third chapter finds them getting more exploratory even, dare I say it, a little bit prog. They’ve developed the elements of their sound and sharpened up the edges. It’s bigger, bolder and weirder than they were before. It’s a pretty weird album to be honest with you, and definitely their best yet.
It starts on unusually bright, shining synth clouds, almost like a meditation tape. “Don’t Panic” Millie urges, “Everything is going to be okay if we just don’t panic.” I hear you bab, I’m trying. Motivational words and phrases float in the electronics, soft drums roll in the distance. It’s a little bit Children Have the Right To Music, if you will. There’s about four and a half minutes of this before the usual wave of sludge crashes in the door and, perfectly, she starts yelling “Relax, RELAX!!” Eventually it flares out, we return to the soft synths and the closing line “Pride, Passion, Belief” reveals the lyrical source as phrases yelled from the touchline at drummer Zac’s Sunday league football matches.
On the nifty ‘Gravestone Robber’ the terrifically grimy bass growl pushes itself to the squealing edge of disintegration. Overall the sound is brighter and fuller than on their earlier stuff, here achieving a particularly pleasing blend of murk and crunch. For reasons unclear Millie affects a Scottish accent to relate this tale of wanton desecration and Peter Gabriel pops his head over the railings for a double take cameo. ‘Catch’ is the tune that seems most like something off their last album, a funny kids story of less than wholesome childhood games set to ominous drones and thundering crescendos.
The second half is given over to a twenty minute epic ‘Denis and Roger’, the first five of which are an atmospheric gong odyssey with buzzing synth jabs and increasingly manic percussion. I told you it was a weird album. Where else are you going to get a 20 min prog epic featuring gongs played by school kids? It mutates into an atmospheric doom crawl. Dave and Zac get a warm, head nodding groove going as Millie’s processed Dalek vocals bark sinister proclamations. Fans of their last album Heavy Mess may recall a somewhat negative attitude to their Catholic schooling. As with opener ‘96% Warrior 4% Barber’ they make use of found lyrics here, taking the darkest, most metal sounding, phrases from Order of Mass sheets and cutting them together. “Those who hate the good, are doomed.” Its final few minutes are a weightless purgatory, loose blocks of electrical sound gliding about like spectres.
When I wrote about their first album I sort of thought they’d burn out quite fast ‘cos kids get bored easy enough. Here they are a couple of years on making remarkable and unique music. Graveyard grunge, gong epics and lyrical cut ups. It’s almost enough to give you faith in the future. “Many are the trials of the just man.” Amen sister.