Sunday, February 16, 2014
Heresiarch - Waelwulf (EP) 
Despite having a career spanning no longer than a truncated twig, New Zealand's Heresiarch garnered more attention than other outfits with countless full-lengths up their belt with the single, meteoric arrival of their 2011 EP ''Hammer of Intransigence'', which was greeted with a rather mixed bevy of reviews. In all honesty, despite my appreciation for the the darker arts that death metal bands can manage to conjure, the EP was hardly a novelty, and I couldn't really help feel that it was being somewhat trod down by the real, indomitable masters of the genre. And to think, these guys weren't the best or the first to hail from New Zealand. The country continues to host a terrific circle of bestial black metal bands ranging from Witchrist and Diocletian, which have done quite a lot to promulgate the genre at large. When Heresiarch's dubious second EP arrived at my mail, I was half unwilling and half expecting the same dismay that diminished their premier EP, and I'm not about to vaunt this thing after I've listened to it, either.
''Waelwulf''' is almost entirely an unfaltering procession of the band's previous effort, with only three tracks jammed in for 13 minutes. If you're not familiar with them, I'll just say that it doesn't really need too much concentration to get to the center of the music. You'll hear the usual culprits Blasphemy, Archgoat, Beherit, and the aforementioned Diocletian, and these tracks are so similar to some of Diocletian's output that you could easily attach them to the end of any one of their albums. Fortunately, the banality of the beastly, warlike chaos that proceeds Heresiarch is mitigated by a somewhat unusual proclivity to sludge things up occasionally. That's not to say that these guys are direct progenitors of early 90's death/doom gods, but a current of slower, titular expansionism is prevalent in their music in certain focal points, denoting of an appreciation of Winter, disEMBOWELMENT, Autopsy or Cianide. Unfortunately, even with bantering, unorthodox drums fills and the doomy sequences forging abrupt tempo changes, there isn't much in the sense of intrigue in ''Waelwulf'''.
The guitar tone is nice, meaty and chubby, more real than that of ''Hammer...'', but for all the good it does to the rest of the album. The best thing this EP is likely to give you is a terrific, turbulent headache. I'm a sucker for the chaotic, miasma-ridden storms they can spew forth, but that's just fucking it. ''Waelwulf'' is well-nigh an empty crater in the middle of some archaic cave, with cracks and crevices along its each and every corner. It's layers are unfocused, dull and usually just meandering currents of distorted commotion that supposedly sew a web of ''chaos''. Heresiarch is chaotic alright, I'll give them that, but so many have gone the road of chaos and disorder that it's no longer interesting; and they're not bringing anything new on the table besides horrific and vilifying guitar sequences with a damp, worthless atmosphere. Even the minute aural images that they try to summon through the wailing guitars like the ending of ''Abrecan'' are pointless and stuffy. If you're trying to love Heresiarch, but you can't, than stop trying. The bestial/war metal market is so crowded with enshrouded jewels that you'll find more than a dozen gems by the time this EP is over. Try something else. Try Vassafor, try Diocletian, try Bölzer, try Teitanblood. I'm sure a handful of die-hards will be spinning this as they proceed to execute their weekly rituals in the local altar, but beyond that, there's nothing it can offer; so I'll be just sitting here, pondering how these guys hope to manage the enormity of a full-length if they can't even pull off a 13-minute EP.