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Released: 2016, Prosthetic Records
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Spanish extremists Noctem return with their fourth full-length and show no signs of tempering their utterly furious black metal attack. Matching Marduk for sheer intensity, but with a bit more nuance and depth, the band offer a blast beat-fueled drag race of an album in Haeresis.
The opening trio of “Through The Black Temples of Disaster,” “Auto-Da-Fé” and “The Submission Discipline” start fast and just keep accelerating on drummer Voor's strafing-run tempos. Guitarists Exo and Ethell saw away with abandon as they gallantly try to keep pace, but their tremolos on songs like the title track or “Conjuring Degradation and Morbidity” take on an almost buzzing tone, like a swarm of killer bees or something.
Over its 45-minute entirety, that would be rather overwhelming, not to mention exhausting. So the band do occasionally throttle back – if but momentarily. “Auto-Da-Fé,” “The Submission Discipline,” “Pactum With the Indomitable Darkness,” etc., offer short acoustic respites, and there are orchestral flourishes throughout – though they sometimes struggle to be noticed. “Blind Devotion” and “The Paths of the Lustful Abandon” open with a deliberate slog – before blasting off at the halfway point - while “The Dark One” takes its elephant march-like breather mid-song.
Exo and Ethell are not averse to spicing up their frantic guitaring with the odd hook or solo, and infuse a hint of sinister melody into their riffing from time to time – notably on, again, “The Dark One” – which is a welcome twist. And frontman Beleth helps give the material teeth with his scabrous vocals, which effectively cut through the sonic blur and sound genuinely ominous – much like those of the aforementioned Marduk's vocalist Mortuus – especially in the full-throated screams he sometimes unleashes.
Still, as fast as it is, it can be tough to really grab a hold of Haeresis as whole. This is one case where a bit more atmosphere, orchestral opulence or dramatic grandeur might have actually helped, because there’s more going on here than one can legitimately process at such a sustained velocity.
1. Through The Black Temples of Disaster
3. The Submission Discipline
4. Blind Devotion
5. The Dark One
7. Whispers of the Ancient Gods
8. Conjuring Degradation and Morbidity
9. The Paths of the Lustful Abandon
10. Pactum With the Indomitable Darkness
Beleth - vocals
Exo - lead guitar
Ethell - rhythm guitar
Varu - bass
Voor - drums
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