Herod are a Swiss four piece delivering their second album after enduring line-up changes in the five years since debut “They Were None”. An ominous industrial-tinged intro gives way to the Cult-Of-NeurISIS-isms© of “Forked Tongue”, a track which sets the tone of the album with its crushing heaviness. There’s a suitably melodic guitar solo amongst all of this, and if the tone sounds familiar, that’s because it’s Bill Steer from Carcass!
There is incredible clarity to each instrument, although this also serves to highlight that the bass appears to be missing (it’s not, but is a distracting anomaly to an otherwise great sound). For me, “Don’t Speak Last” best showcases the bands well-paced, consistent craftmanship. Interspersed with post-metal guitar breaks and quiet introspective passages, the song is consistent at returning to its main themes and motifs throughout the ten minutes that it spans, through smooth changes of mood and tempo.
“Mourning Grounds” begins in familiar territory, before building on the clean harmonised vocals and tribal drum riffs which had been briefly introduced on earlier songs. The pay-off comes when djentisms hinted at through the rest of the album escalate to a fucking glorious full-on Meshuggah-esque frenzy halfway through, which isn’t as at odds with the rest of the song as you’d think.
Closing track “There will Be Gods” begins with quasi-industrial tribal percussion and atmospherics, building up to a ponderous, thundering rhythm that sees the rest of the nine-and-a-half minutes out.
Summing up, “Sombre Dessein” is high calibre progressive post-metal that occasionally drinks from the djent fountain, albeit one that’s extremely sludgy. An absolute filthy delight of an album.