Heresiarch [New Zealand]
Dark Descent Records
When New Zealand’s Heresiarch first released their debut EP, Hammer of Intransigence in 2011, I was completely blown away, with that EP easily being one of my all time favourite war metal releases. The announcement of the band’s release of another EP in the form of Wælwulf this year got me extremely excited, and once again reignited the flame for bestial black/death metal.
With the high octane energy that was presented on Hammer of Intransigence, I almost expected yet another dosage of such relentless brutality on Wælwulf. But Heresiarch proves themselves to be a band that is much more versatile than that, and while that filthy atmosphere that was present on Hammer of Intransigence is still obvious right from the start with Waewulf, the band seems to take a slightly different approach this time round. For starters, things are much heavier this time round, with the riffs unleashed being crushing as fuck, backed by relentless drums.
The chaos, and heavy focus on the riffs on this release are still rather characteristic of pioneering bands such as Conqueror or Revenge. But the band seems to take a slightly doomier approach this time round, with Abrecan and moments on Endethraest being rather uncharacteristically slow by Heresiarch standard, though the disturbance and uneasiness that the band manages to evoke is still evident. Throw in the heavy atmosphere that that shrouds the entire EP, one is easily reminded of fellow countrymen Witchrist, with the dissonance on the album bringing in some resemblance to Australia’s Portal as well, often pushing the limits of the listener’s sanity.
While Heresiarch has taken a different approach this time round, resulting in Wælwulf being a very different sounding release from Hammer of Intransigence, the brutality and bestiality that is emanated is still very much present, ensuring that fans of the band won’t be left disappointed.