Released: 2013, Iron Bonehead Productions
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Greece has long been known for its black metal heritage with bands like Rotting Christ hailing from the country. The recent political upheaval and dark times for many Greeks in the country today seems to be re-energizing the people towards darker music and with the help of Iron Bonehead Productions we finally see it unleashed on the world.
Heretic Cult Redeemer is the brainchild of Funus, founding member of bands such as Acrimonious, Necrovorous and Embrace the Thorns. Now returning with a new line-up and a whole new project, the band already has a lot to live up to. Heretic Cult Redeemer are not just another copy of the older work though, this project seems more mature, more intricate and more powerful.
Forming in 2009, it has taken the guys 4 years to finally get the album completed and ready to show the world. Despite being their debut album, the album is brimming in ambition. The production is surprisingly good for a debut, but perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising considering Funus’s previous successes. In some ways this lacks the grainy, grimy start up sound that almost every band pushes through and many have come to love for it’s rawness and honesty, but what this does show is that this band are serious right from the start. This is no garage band; there is determination and focus in the sound that can really be heard pushing through the album from start to finish.
The album races feverishly through from end to end, falling back occasionally for an atmospheric or calm sections. This is held together by the rasping vocals. Funus virtually forsakes the usual piercing screams usual to black metal for a more death metal edge. Although favoring the lower end of the spectrum, Furus proves he is not one trick, mixing it up with sections of screeching and clean singing. Although this shifts them out of the orthodox, it does get lost under a wall of aggressive sound and a greater use of screams and singing could have pulled the vocals out of chaos.
There is a lot of clarity between parts, an overwhelming sense of space that differs from the usual wall of sound that the usual black metal production brings with it. Perhaps the space in the track removes some of the desperate anger, pain and misanthropy that comes with your usual black metal track, but that isn’t what this band are about. Although atmospherically powerful, this album really shines with its intertwining melodies and rhythmic hooks that rise and fall before being swallowed by a pure blackened assault, and the production allows us to experience the shifting lines and paces.
The album takes off slowly, and its not till the forth song Concatenation their sound really starts to pull together. The first three tracks fall under the more generic black metal standard, unquestionably traditional in its sound and approach, but the further through the album you get, the more interesting the sound becomes. Greece’s tendency towards the more melodic lines shines through, as well as hints of folk elements.
The promised mystic and spiritual awakening this album was meant to provide never quite hit. There was no ancient awakening and the plains of consciousness never unfolded before me, but there is so much potential running through that it would be madness to dismiss this band now, they just haven’t yet found their place. With this material four years in the making, lets hope its not another four before we hear the band raising the darkest spirits again.
Review by Caitlin Smith