HASUFEL “Winter on the Hill Cumorah” (Chondritic Sound)

Hasufel’s Dylan Ettinger is back to haunt us with yet another tape of dark drones and unsettling synth compositions, this time taking on a truly scary and formidable entity: organized religion! Ettinger grew up in the Mormon tradition, so who better to take us on a disconcerting ride through history and personal experience? No one! Not even me, although I, too, grew up amongst the religiously organized. No LDS in my background though.

Winter on Cumorah Hill traces it all the way back, back to the very beginning – the very beginning of the Latter Day Saints church, anyway. Cumorah is a “drumlin” in Manchester, New York, the hill upon which Mormon founder Joseph Smith discovered the Golden Plates that “he translated into English and published as the Book of Mormon.” (All citations from the lovely Wikipedia, naturally.) Cumorah is alternately referred to as “Mormon Hill,” “Gold Bible Hill,” and “Inspiration Point.” Cumorah is a revered location in LDS custom.

But we all know what happened to Joseph Smith, right? Killed by a mob in 1844 in Carthage, Illinois. From there the church headed west and relocated to Utah, where it is still headquartered today. But there are some heavy customs that Mormons go through as they grow up, and Ettinger applies some equally heavy hymnody to illustrate the precariousness and insidiousness of mass indoctrination. Taking the themes of the church and filtering them through a pagan lens, Ettinger calls forth from his own mind the spectral beings of opposition, directing them to subvert all that he’s experienced with all that he’s learned. The spiritual battle is great, but Ettinger and his instant séances masquerading as plodding goth metal are up to the challenge.

Like Peter Murphy leading a satanic cult, Ettinger as Hasufel warps the perception of “the greater good,” thereby shaping it in his own image, an image of freedom from convention and control. Only through the scourge of dark, midwinter fires can lasting change occur.