HCRDon’t get too concerned about the band name it is neither an album title that got missed by Dimmu Borgir nor a sinister religious order who want to win over heretics and idolaters to their way of thinking. What we actually have is a fairly new outfit from Greece with a debut album that is much more orthodox and sinister in approach. Originally released on vinyl via Iron Bonehead this self-titled album is now getting the CD treatment via Hellthrasher Productions and is a neatly packaged work with a nicely designed booklet which sees planetary alignment and hymns to the cosmological order of death worship; well that’s the way I looked at it reading the lyrical content contained within. Taking 7 as the number of the universe we are taken through 7 cosmic stages of which we are currently in the fifth as mankind apparently. Numerology is obviously a potent force as far as the band are concerned and the way they have portrayed things is interesting conceptually before we even get to the music itself.

This starts with force and precision behind it as ‘Crawling Hope’ unravels in a cortex driven weave of sinister guitar work and gravid vocals. Singer Funus (ex of Acrimonious) quickly puts an authoritative stamp on things adding pronouncement to his delivery with some eccentric flourishes making him very much feel like a cult leader spurring on his neophytes. Musically it feels quite original and there is no band I could immediately compare the sound to or for that fact country of origin. They may well be Greek but that does not mean you are going to name the normal black metal groups that one would from that scene. The guitars have a real shadowy definition about them and their power is used incredibly effectively cloaking everything in an eerie stygian and cataclysmic end of the world vibe. There is a feel of Mayhem and even Behexen about things here and the production is nice and thick allowing the tones of the bottom end to add meat to the instrumentation. Musically it sounds highly accomplished as this lot, despite all but the drummer who seems to have been in a veritable horde of bands, appear to be fairly new to things. Slowing things down to a doomy morass ‘The Oldest Of Times’ puts huge emphasis on those thorny guitars and with the singers chant echoing behind them it’s certainly enough to send sharp shivers of fear through the spine. Injecting a brief olden Satyricon feel to its olden times swagger does it no harm either before the track flirts between soul reaping bursts of speed and utter despairing slow grooves.

It’s the winding grinding clamour of the guitars again that fantastically have the focus on ‘Concatenation’ as they weave away with dextrous precision becoming really strident in the process. However it’s on ‘Unknown Salvation’ that they become their most destructive. The track builds slowly after a Middle Eastern call to prayer before things become more and more focussed on the strident looped sinuous guitar part which ends up being the complete focus of attention along with a slow drum beat. Just as you think it is never going to end it suddenly stops proving a completely masterful approach which I have found myself waiting for on every listen. With the barbed weave flailing into the seventh and all important culminating part this somewhat dense work should by now have won over and be fighting for repeated plays. The fantastic sense of melody throughout and the cloying sinister atmospheres provided by Heretic Cult Redeemer ultimately triumph and this is a band who are well worth getting your next fix of orthodoxy on. Hopefully in the future they will get on a good tour as the chance to witness them live would be most welcome.

(8/10 Pete Woods)