July 21, 2017

Heresiarch - Death Ordinance

By Bryan Camphire. Dark Descent Records does it again, delivering another dose of uncompromising apoplectic death metal. Death Ordinance, the debut full length by Heresiarch, is a a forty-one minute set of nine tracks
By Bryan Camphire.

Artwork by Mistanthropic-Art

Dark Descent Records does it again, delivering another dose of uncompromising apoplectic death metal. Death Ordinance, the debut full length by Heresiarch, is a a forty-one minute set of nine tracks with zero clean parts and zero concessions made. The result is unrelenting evil ripping through your speakers.

Heresiarch play chaotic blackened death metal full of aggression and hate. The band hails from New Zealand, home to some of the most terrifying acts working in metal today; bands like Vesicant, Sinistrous Diabolous, Vassafor, Diocletian and Solar Mass. Heresiarch seem to be quite at home among this cantankerous lot. Don't let the tank treads on the cover fool you, though: this is music for sensitive souls. I am being facetious there. This music sounds like getting run over by that tank.

At the risk of sounding reductive, it should be said that this music is indebted to some fearsome Canadian bands like Revenge and Conqueror. To this hellish mix, Heresiarch add extra heaps of filth and dissonance, following along the darkened path laid before them by such devilish bands from down under like Bestial Warlust, Sadistik Exekution and, more recently, acts like Impetuous Ritual. That is a lot of name-dropping. Suffice to say, Heresiarch exist within a tradition of some of the most punishing acts in extreme metal. What they may lack in originality, they make up for in entropy.

For me what shines most about this recording is the production. Death Ordinance sounds humongous. Every instrument is given ample space. This is no easy feat with music that is as suffocating as this. A lot of great bands simply do not manage to sound their best on record. The fact that each amp sounds like it's been turned up to eleven, the drummer is playing his guts out throughout, and the screams still manage to be harrowing on top of all of this... it's impressive. It makes you marvel at what a vicious beast this band must be to behold in the flesh.

The third cut, "Harbinger" is a highlight for me. I am a total sucker for half-time hardcore-style breakdowns in death metal. All the better if these mosh-worthy moments are sandwiched between breakneck blastbeats, as happens to be the case here. The deviations from a straight up 4/4 approach really sweeten the deal here, as well as on several other cuts throughout the LP.

There is a nice variety of tempo over the course of the record, and this keeps the songs from blending together. The song lengths range from as short as two minutes to as long as over seven minutes, and it's precisely this type of variety that makes this set unpredictable and engrossing. All in all, Death Ordinance marks another solid entry in the Dark Descent catalog by a true force to be reckoned with. All hail Heresiarch.

Tagged with 2017, black metal, Bryan Camphire, Dark Descent Records, death metal, Heresiarch
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