HIEMS is a one-man, avant-garde black metal band launched in 1996 by Italian songwriter & multi-instrumentalist Alessandro "Algol" Comerio. "Stranger in a Wasteland" marks his third outing and is the sound of an artist confident in his craft. Recorded during lock-down, the music captures the dismal feelings of alienation and detachment, and translates them into malevolent, minimalistic and non-canonical black metal, infused with dark hard rock and ominous grooves. In comparison with "Worship or Die" - the second and last installment from 2009 - "Stranger in a Wasteland" boasts a much clearer and refined production, which added a commanding character to the vocals, exposed the weight of the guitars, and sharpened the overall listening experience. The topic of death - closely followed by a sense of not belonging - is equally present in the musical and lyrical layer of the album.
"It's been a long time since the last Hiems record," recalls Comerio. "I've always continued to write material, but only when the pandemic gave me some free time was I able to gather the songs written in the past years and shape them. I chose the name of the record to highlight the song that is the best representation of my vision of life and the current world. I feel like a stranger wherever I go. I can't find any religion or philosophy with which I can completely agree, and today's world seems to me a wasteland; destroyed and forgotten. So yeah, I do feel like a stranger in a wasteland. It’s about not belonging to any creed or flag. To follow your own path, even if it leads to loneliness. Regarding the production, I'm a sound maniac. I spent days and days in the studio, searching for the sound I had in mind. I wanted the record to sound different from actual 'plastic' metal, so I chose not to use triggers or artificial reverbs and go completely old school."
"Stranger in a Wasteland" was recorded at Elfo Studio (Forgotten Tomb), engineered by Daniele Mandelli and mixed and produced by Daniele Mandelli and Alessandro "Algol" Comerio. The album was mastered at La Maestà Studio (Muse) by Giovanni Versari and comes with artwork by Adam Burke (Solstafir, Enforcer). Layout illustrations (medieval engravings) were provided by Davide Schileo. Guest appearances include Gabriel Minuta (guest guitars), Paolo Apollo Negri (guest hammond organs) and Elisabetta Marchetti (guest vocals).
1. A Night on the Bare Mountain
2. Death Unites Us
3. Master of Lies
5. The Rites of Terror
7. Better Off Dead
8. Stranger In A Wasteland