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Erebos - Heretic - 94%

Edmund Sackbauer, April 15th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2019, CD, Black Sunset

Not to be confused with the Polish black metal force going by the same name “Heretic” is the third full length album by Austrian death metal commando Erebos. I have no idea why there has been a hiatus of thirteen years between albums number two and three but who cares? What counts is the quality of the music and I am more than happy to report that “Heretic” is a massive piece of piercing and relentless death metal combining the purity of the old school with some more modern elements.

“Heretic” is eight tracks spanning thirty two minutes and has a rich, thick and heavy sound,complex but not fussy, with superb US Death Metal influenced guitar work, with a node to bands like Immolation or Morbid Angel but also an extra portion of brutality thrown in for good measure. Slightly technical, slightly progressive with noticeable blackened elements but also highly melodic at the same time, but very traditional death metal at the core all melded with a lush fluidity and dark haunting melody. The interplay of the crunchy basic riffs and the memorable lead harmonies are a real highlight here, perfectly balancing heaviness with groove and hypnotic melodies.

The trademark chords are complemented by superb drum work, well considered patterns that enhance the outstanding guitar work and a predominant rasping growl of a delivery that ascends to a higher blackened gurgling scream, both deliver with clarity the lyrical content, allowing you to follow the story line. While there are a lot of blast-beat sections and a good use of the cymbals the music never sounds too chaotic or disharmonic. Instead of showcasing their technical abilities just for the sake of it Erebos have put the most emphasis on creating heavily grooving songs that are a lot of fun to listen to.

The production is flawless with the right combination of power and rawness. The drums are punchy and the mix is perfectly balanced giving each instrument enough room to breathe. Rounded off by an atmospheric cover artwork “Heretic” is one of the big highlights when it comes to death metal in 2019. I hope it won’t take another thirteen years to hear more from these fellas.