Heresiarch’s Apocalyptic visions bleed out, paint deadly scenario on smothering ‘Death Ordinance’

Post-Apocalyptic wastelands are a thing of paperback novels and action movies. They are things that seem so far out there that we can unplug from reality and enjoy some mindless entertainment for a few hours. Here’s hoping things stay that way, because things are looking a little bleak.

That said, New Zealand black/death metal band Heresiarch have their minds tilted toward that devastating scenario, and on their debut full-length “Death Ordinance,” they take a fictional scenario where a nuclear war-ravaged society is falling apart even deeper, as people continue to wage struggles against one another. In this place, following the great battles and electromagnetic pulse attacks on technology, humankind continues to struggle to remain alive and vital in this final phase, as instead of moving ahead, promising signs come from regression. That’s actually going on right now, and if you’re paying attention, you can see it. This scenario powers these nine cuts over nearly 41 minutes as the band—vocalist N.H., guitarist C.S., bassist J.B., and drummer N.O.—puts all their vitriol and morbid visions into a record that feels like worldwide war is being waged as you listen along.

“Consecrating Fire” opens the tale with synth waves and strange sounds before the doomy death hammer drops. Vicious torment is present and reaches across the song, as growls scrape and drag along the ground and militaristic drums set the pace. N.H.’s vocals are shrouded with darkness and mud, while the music is thick and impenetrable, with noise eventually filtering out. “Storming Upon Knaves” is a blinding and burly assault at the start, with riotous and fast pace kicking up dust. The growls are filled with anguish and hell, as soloing goes off and sends massive quaking waves. The whole song feels like a blast furnace, with bodies melting in front of its assault. “Harbinger” has guitars grinding away, and then the pace explodes. Ugly growls join with piledriving playing, as the pace feels dizzying and oppressive. The growls remain terrifying, as the song gets a doomy finish, battering its victims into the night. “Ruination” is an attack out of nowhere, total demolition that floors you from the first seconds. The growls are animalistic, and the tempo is a piledriver. The cut remains burly and punishing, delivering pure carnage. Later, the thrashing overwhelms, as leads cut in and light greater fires, with the final minute hammering and bringing muddy death.

“The Yoke” is trudging and laced with gurgling death. The drums rattle skulls, while the doom-splattered pace stretches and delivers a hellacious pounding. The track keeps chewing its way through, bringing torturous playing that fades in a haze of sound. “Iron Harvest” is a seven-minute smasher that starts with deliberate drumming, guitars mangling, and the bassline unloading soot. The song revels in its own misery, with the riffs staining with blood and the growls choking out your life. Soloing blasts through and increases the sense of rage, as the band unleashes total annihilation that shows no hope of ever relenting. The track keeps spiraling and picking up shrapnel along the way, later blasting with a storming intensity that drones until it finally fades away. “Lupine Epoch” registers a mere two minutes, but its run time is chaotic and frenzied. The band rips a hole in any sense of sanity, blowing down brick walls and leaving death and blood in its wake. “Righteous Upsurgence” boils in its own juices, unfurling slowly but heavily, making life miserable. Thing speed up as the track goes along, with the growls sounding like they emanate from some underground creature, and the guitars mashing bodies. The song breaks down into a doomy din later, as the track takes its time beating you into submission. Closer “Desert of Ash” is a 7:42-long final attack that batters and dominates. The track has more of a black metal bend to it musically, as the song is served in sheets of bloody guitars that are melodic but also dangerous. The soloing brings fog and a funereal sense, as the growls scrape flesh, and the drums smash away. A sorrowful pall then is cast over the song, with the misery bleeding its way over the final stretch, and doomsday keys poured over the finish.

Heresiarch didn’t exactly pack their first record with hope, but who warns that from death metal anyway? “Death Ordinance” might be a fantasy in 2017, but with the way things are breaking down politically across the globe, what might be far-fetched is that this will take 30 years to happen. We could be closer than we all think, and Heresiarch will have painted a doom-infested portrait for us.

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