Up for review today is SMRT and their release “Hiraeth”. This band was unknown to me before (the list of black metal bands grows larger by the day). According to their Bandcamp page, they are a two-man black metal band based in the southern part of Georgia, USA. They released their first album in 2022, which bears the same title as the band name. With an influx of black metal bands emerging from the States in recent years, let’s take a closer look at this fairly new kid on the block.
“Hiraeth” contains 6 tracks, with the last track being instrumental. The runtime of the album is 32 minutes.
- Eclipsing Eternally
- The Waning Moon
- Resolved in Earth
- Passing the Setting Sun
- Lamentation (instrumental)
The album itself is a concept album, with the concept being, according to the band’s own words, “Hiraeth is a concept album that follows a person through life as they search for a relationship with death, then die to return to nothingness.” I love this idea and am glad that the lyrics are available on the album’s Bandcamp page, allowing us to follow the journey of the protagonist. In terms of sound, the album features some great drums, guitar solos, and nice interludes that include piano and acoustic guitar.
Additionally, the artwork used for the album cover is marvelous. I love the entire aesthetic of it, especially the shadowy figure manipulating the fibers of the cosmos.
Let’s start with the first track of the album, “Eclipsing Eternally.” Right from the start, it has a nice vibe to it. The drums and guitars mix well together, giving it a bit of a black ‘n roll vibe. The blast beats are there, but they don’t overpower the song. It builds a nice atmosphere, especially when the vocals kick in. While they aren’t the best vocals out there, they do the job – and that’s what counts (for me, anyway). I also appreciate the lyrics of the album. Most black metal lyrics aren’t that great, but the lyrics of this track read like a poem.
The echo of time is merciless
Gone in the blink of an eye
Moments fade away
Born to die alone
Was there ever a meaning?
Is this the end?
Death is just the beginning
“Resolved in Earth” is the third track of the album, the track starts off with some bells going off then the tempo and blast beats pick up, and the track becomes alive (contrary to the subject of the lyrics).
And here I lay forever facing above
There’s no more pain and no more pleasure to give
Beneath the surface, I have found peace.
Resting eternal decaying with ease
Leaving behind what, I thought, was precious to me
Almost all mortal beings have an inherent fear of death and the unknown. This album really plays into that feeling for me. The lyrics and the concept are great.
Moving on to the fifth track of the album, “Hiraeth” starts off with an acoustic bit, which is a nice change of pace and sets the mood. After a minute, the guitars and drums kick in. I love the blast beats in this song, as well as the change to a more atmospheric piano interlude around the four-minute mark. The entire song has a great atmosphere and vibe to it.
If you’re a fan of atmospheric black metal with hints of black gaze, you should definitely give this album a listen. I’m confident you’ll enjoy it. It’s a decent album, and I’m excited to see what they create in the future. You can listen to the album via the YouTube video below, and if you like it, consider supporting the artist by purchasing it.
Bandcamp: Hiraeth | SMRT (bandcamp.com)