Published June 16, 2006
Barði Jóhannsson’s accompanying symphonic score to Danish recluse Benjamin Christensen’s 1922 surreal witchcraft documentary is very much Barði, with Bang Gang’s signature brooding melodies and dignified air, albeit taken much farther in their scale and bombast, but still retaining the cold, aloof and somewhat depthless atmosphere for which he is known. The moments of calm, yet torturous, restraint between the storms of noise are the best parts, letting Barði’s vision attain the scope it could only hint at in earlier works, whereas his weaknesses become more evident in his attempts at dramatic oomph, such as the would-be sinister riffs of the fifth ‘movement’. But Haxan falls short due mostly to Barði’s lack of imagination. The second movement is especially ruined when after about ten minutes of sweeping grandeur, rock drums and an irritatingly pedestrian melody kicks in, something which would have been perfectly bearable on a pop music project, but just seems lazy here.