The last time I encountered the word Heresiarch in a musical context it was with cerebral epic metal clan Atlantean Kodex. It’s safe to say that the band Heresiarch draw no influences from that quarter of Bavaria, but it doesn’t mean that this crushing New Zealand outfit haven’t put considerable thought into this, their debut full length.
What you do have to bear in mind is that this is an unmitigated fucking racket, a dense and absolutely relentlessly crushing war machine of brutal, guttural and slightly blackened death metal. From the opening, ominously slow first track ‘Consecrating Fire’ with that Bolt Thrower feel, the album grinds the gears and cranks up the speed for an all out assault on enemy lines. If war is Hell then this is the inferno, the cauldron into which the ground meat of the fallen is thrown. The riffs come fast and without remorse, the drumming a constant artillery barrage, the growled and snarled orders twisted and inhuman. Honestly it just keeps rolling over you, track after track, until your bones are crushed into jelly and your corpse stick to the tank tracks as it grinds onwards.
There is a theme to the album, if not an actual outright concept. A world post nuclear war, post society, constantly feeding all into the war machine. The excellent cover crystalises this in your mind and the music pushes you face down in the battlefield mud.
Yes this does simple blast into you and keeps going. There is a wall of death metal riffing with influences from Bolt Thrower through to Portal and nowhere to hide. Pace is varied here and there, songs do find the breakdown now and then but to fully appreciate Heresiarch you have to be prepared for blood, fire and a punishing attack that begins in the first track and ends at the last. We get fleeting moments of bleak keyboards amidst the guitars just when needed,, but this is not shiny, pristine tech death, though the playing is tight, this is just, blood and oil and poisoned mud.
The sheer bloody minded heads down driving style here will not be for everyone but really, we all need a bit of this kind of racket in our lives and Heresiarch have that certain something that makes their brutality highly compelling.