Released: 2014, Iron Bonehead Productions
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Proof, if it were needed, that death metal is in rude health worldwide can be seen in the buzz surrounding New Zealand's Heresiarch since their 2011 EP 'Hammer of Intransigence'. The band, who formed in 2008 and who also released a demo just prior to 'Hammer...' (the cheerily titled 'Obsecrating the Global Holocaust') have been riding a wave of critical acclaim and hot anticipation for their next release.
March 31st of this year saw them finally unveil 'Waelwulf', a three track (or 7” in the old lingo) EP of dark majesty released by Germany's Iron Bonehead Productions. Will it live up to expectations? Read on...
The title track opens the EP with a snarling riff and a deeply ominous roar: so far, so good. Several deep growls later, the lyrics kick in. Heresiarch are a band quite obsessed with (to quote their mysteriously monikered frontman NH) “war, death and victory”; presumably the lyrics follow these subjects closely (this being death metal, a definite niche genre, a lyric sheet would be required to ascertain the actual words...). The quite melodic instrumental break amongst the black, snarling rage is a surprising addition and hints at a band unwilling to be closed within simple genre boundaries. This is also obvious in the clear progression they have made from 'Hammer...': gone is the breakneck pace, with a slower, more deliberate sound evident.
Track one leads directly into track two 'Abrecan', making this a true 'double A side' EP. The titles, and indeed the lyrics, have been derived from Anglo Saxon literature such as Beowulf and so on; a lofty and quite intelligent source of inspiration. 'Abrecan' is, much like the title track, a gloomy, doomy and dark number; not so much a song as a stream of blackened consciousness. The deep, piledriving riffs and almost militaristic drums create a real sense of impending destruction – quite a neat trick from such an unstructured song.
B side track 'Endethraest' wraps up the EP with a wave of grinding riffs and relentless drums. The cataclysmic tone of the EP reaches a crescendo here: it sounds like the bloody apocalypse, frankly. Its ebb and flow give this song the strongest sense of composition of the three. It then fades out abruptly and that's it, the EP is over, leaving the listener bereft and hungry for more – exactly as an EP should.
From its humble beginnings in the Eighties, death metal has crept, Kraken-like, all over the world in recent years. Some of those tentacles made it all the way to New Zealand and had a powerful effect on the likes of Heresiarch's members. From small seeds grow mighty oaks, the saying goes. Well this EP is certainly that: it's dark, it's doomy and it's deathly...mighty, indeed.
Review by Melanie Brehaut