It was in 2009 that Mat settled down in Finland – the oddball country of Scandinavia, where the humour is as dark as the winter afternoons and the nature as breathtaking as their moonshine. Originally from the UK, he came here via stints in Norway and Holland, already with weight to his name in the underground of extreme and avantgarde metal music, having sung and written in bands like Dødheimsgard and Code among many more, sometimes under the moniker of Kvohst. Later, he achieved success with modern post punk darlings Beastmilk and its spin-off Grave Pleasures.
In Finland he found his “kin”, and there he invoked Hexvessel – a band founded to voice Mat’s inner self, and to connect it with the vast cosmic infinity around him. Simply: to play psychedelic music in the true sense of the term.
More like a commune than a regular band, the spirit surrounding the group invokes a vision of a bunch of Northern heathens coming to live in Laurel Canyon in the late 1960’s. Sonically, it’s more the other way around; Joni Mitchell and The Doors set free in the Finnish wilderness (quite possibly intoxicated under the midnight sun).
Hexvessel is rock but never roll – balancing the simple folk tune with psychedelic drive, hinting at Captain Beefheart, King Crimson and The Beatles as well as the dewy-eyed Americana that contemporary folk artists like First Aid Kit have adapted and re-defined. Stirred together, this makes for one truly unique brew of timeless storytelling and song craft.
Since the release of their debut album in 2011 the band has sold out headline tours in their homeland, been nominated for 2 Finnish Grammy awards, toured Europe together with bands like Sabbath Assembly and Alcest, played prestigious festivals like Roadburn in Holland and SXSW in Texas, and seen their music on the charts and on critics lists. This strange pack of Finns have succeeded in creating their own world, of which an ever-increasing number of curious outsiders are hungry to take part.
In January 2016, Hexvessel’s third album, When We Are Death emerged to critical acclaim. Their first release licensed to Century Media Records via their own Secret Trees label imprint. A body of work that Mat McNerney says is his most personal to date.
After the much lauded albums “Dawnbearer” and “No Holier Temple,” “When We Are Death” marks a turning point on the path the band has walked on so far. Still maintaining the warmth and eccentric peculiarity of the preceding albums, “When We Are Death” offers a combination of magnificent harmonies, organic sound and the outstanding performance of singer Mat McNerney, resulting in 10 highly varied and focused tracks of compact, catchy and soulful psychedelic folk rock.
Hexvessel toured Europe in March and April 2016 with New Keepers Of The Water Towers, ending in two shows at Roadburn Festival.