July 9, 2017

Heresiarch - Death Ordinance Review and Full Album Stream.

Heresiarch - Death Ordinance.

Review by Trevor Proctor.

New Zealand’s contribution to underground extreme music is under no doubt, with bands like Diocletian, Vesicant, Sabbatic Goat, Witchrist, Trepanation and Heresiarch keeping the country well and truly on the underground map with regards to high standard music.
Heresiarch formed in Wellington during 2008 but it was April 2011 before they released any material which came in the form of the cassette demo, ‘Obsecrating the Global Holocaust.’ The well-received EP ‘Hammer of Intransigence’ followed a mere six months later, released by Dark Descent Records on CD – an EP so good it received two vinyl releases and was also issued on cassette.
Heresiarch’s next release was the phenomenal ‘Wælwulf’ 7” EP which was released by Iron Bonehead Productions in March 2014.
The standard of music on ‘Wælwulf’ garnered the band a lot of praise and attention, including here at The Lair of Filth where it was reviewed and also landed a top three position on my 2014 year end list of singles, EPs and demos. Since reviewing ‘Wælwulf’ I’ve been one of many patiently waiting on new music from Heresiarch and now, after a three year wait, there’s a reward for our patience with Heresiarch’s debut full length, ‘Death Ordinance,’ which has just been released on CD and digital formats by Dark Descent Records.

‘Death Ordinance’ was recorded by V.V. during early 2017 and was mixed and mastered by C. Sinclair at Temple of Sol, C. Sinclair has previously worked with Heresiarch as he mixed and mastered the ‘Hammer of Intransigence’ EP. The fantastic cover artwork which goes some way to depicting the chaotic world we’re thrown into during ‘Death Ordinance’ is the creation of Mistanthropic Art
Since formation nine years ago Heresiarch has had a number of personnel changes with vocalist N.H. the only remaining original member but the band now seems to have a stable line-up with C.S. on guitars, N.O. drums and J.B. performing bass. 

Heresiarch describe the album as follows – “Death Ordinance is set in a future ravaged by 30 years of war, global societies have collapsed into anarchic warfare between tribal bands. Following nuclear warfare and EMP's, remnants of technology are repurposed solely for conflict. Regression becomes progress as oppression and power struggle with natural law and imminent extinction. What remains of humanity struggles in the vestiges, the final lineage impotent and malformed, for the scraps of a dying world. The album documents the twilight of existence through three movements, the onset as ‘Consecrating Fire’ and concluding with ‘Desert of Ash.’”

‘Consecrating Fire’ starts the album in an ominous fashion with its militaristic drumming and N.H.’s vocal casting an apocalyptic shadow across the battlefield as Heresiarch take the tracks’ four minute duration to slowly set the scene before all Hell breaks loose. Second track ‘Storming Upon Knaves,’ sees Heresiarch set a much faster and heavier pace as wave after wave of oppression and destruction rain down upon us – no let up, no mercy as Heresiarch rip through track after track of intense, oppressive, Blackened Death Metal that’s second to none.  The album has duration of forty two minutes and by and large it’s laced with intense, harsh and extremely heavy musical suffocation that totally surrounds you in Heresiarch’s sonic violence. The production is perfect and the performances from all members are exemplary, led into battle by the high standard and downright intimidating vocal delivered by N.H.

The first five tracks average around four minutes, with each subsequent track dragging you further into Heresiarch’s violent post-apocalyptic world with no mercy from the all-out attack. However, whilst the pace is fairly relentless during most of the album there are occasional variations which Heresiarch use to enhance and amplify the albums’ intense, frenetic moments. ‘Iron Harvest’ is one of two longer tracks on the album and features one such moment as Heresiarch use the tracks’ slower initial pace to bring  atmosphere and even more oppression to proceedings before returning to the glorious all-out assault delivered during ‘Death Ordinance.’
Whilst the main body of the album lays waste to the battlefield closing track, ‘Desert of Ash,’ feels like the band taking a moment to survey the carnage that’s taken place before them. With eight minutes duration this track is both the longest and also the slowest on the album. Heresiarch take their time closing the album with the slowed down, strained notes from ‘Desert of Ash,’ enabling us to take a breather and revel in the glory of this sterling album. Even with the slowed pace of this track Heresiarch keep the suffocation levels high and keep you and your attention pinned to the floor.

Black/Death Metal or War Metal, call it what you will, the end result is the same – total audial destruction that will leave an impression on you for a long time to come. Whilst Heresiarch’s output since formation has been quite limited the standard of music from the band has been second to none with music of the highest caliber featuring across all releases to date - thankfully this trait continues with ‘Death Ordinance.’ 

Heresiarch has played a number of live dates this year, including a spot at Covenant Festival, a number of dates in the U.S. with Ritual Necromancy and an up-coming slot supporting the mighty Angelcorpse – with these, and other, live dates and a debut album this good it’s definitely one of Heresiarch’s most productive periods ever –  and long may it continue as it’s fully deserved. 

With this belter just released and an album due from Vesicant next week there’s no doubt whatsoever that New Zealand bands will continue to have a huge influence on the underground. 
If you’re a fan of the likes of Revenge, Conqueror, Diocletian etc. this is essential listening for you.

'Death Ordinance' is available to stream in full via Dark Descent Records below:

An outstanding release and easily one of the year’s strongest albums – 10/10.

01 - Consecrating Fire 
02 - Storming upon Knaves 
03 - Harbinger
04 - Ruination
05 - The Yoke 
06 - Iron Harvest 
07 - Lupine Epoch 
08 - Righteous Upsurgence 
09 - Desert of Ash.

'Death Ordinance' and 'Hammer of Intransigence' are currently available here from Dark Descent Records.

All Heresiarch releases prior to 'Death Ordinance' are available on digital formats by accessing their Bandcamp page here.

'Hammer of Intransigence' and ‘Wælwulf’ are both available on vinyl here from Iron Bonehead Productions.

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