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Comprehensive Infernal Maze - 92%

Onanizer, March 5th, 2012

With the opening song, Serpents Domination, the powers of darkness can no longer be held under the surface of the Earth and the blasting hellfire bursts out! However, Heaving Earth are not just blasting in extreme speeds, the level of their songwriting skills allows them to slow down and build up majestic compositions in the vein of their very inspirators Immolation or Morbid Angel.

The combination of the opening riff from Beyond the Void with the infernal blasts of tom-tom class strategic warheads is a perfect musicalization of the front cover created by great italian artist Marco Hasmann, pure infernal chaos springing to the surface of this world. This track shows what I am talking about. The dynamic of this album is very traditional, a well known simple model of alternating fast hellstrikes with slow and mid-paced songs that work very well here. You have to be a very good composer to not lose the listeners' attention with songs seven minutes long, and that's the main asset of Heaving Earth, even though these guys are not re-inventing death metal. No one is gonna write good riffs instead of you and the riffs and leads on this album are first class! You can also comfortably identify their strongest influences, but HE have their own face and the songwriting is absolutely comprehensive and lacks weak moments. The songs are well thought-out compositions, showing that the songwriting skills of Tomáš Halama (mastermind behind this band) are very profound. You can hear it in perfect arrangements of weaving guitar lines,l drum fills, riffs that gradually develop, and all of them sit in the right places in the songs. The same goes for leads as Heaving Earth compose real songs and not tracks of senseless riffage and random blasting.

I sure have some objections, two of them go to the sound. The sound of the drums isn't organic at all and the overall sound of this record is sort of flat. Also, the drum parts could be more inventive in the slow parts and the vocals sure could be more brutal (well, this is already resolved as Zlababa of Brutally Deceased is the new vocalist), but I think this is a great debut and the beast of Heaving Earth has some promising future. It's a shame the label wasn't capable of appropriate promotion because this album is like a hell-risen lava flow, spreading chaos and death on its way to the heavenly kingdom. Buy or die!
P.S. If you seek another Czech act reaching this level of musicanship and great songwriting in the vein of the Supreme ones of the '90's era, give Destroying Divinity a try. If you like this, make sure you check them out too!

A Solid Slab of Scorching Death Metal - 90%

jakster840, January 7th, 2012

Initially, I had reviewed this album previously and graded it with a 65%, stating that while the members could play their instruments, much of the songwriting was sloppy and the album suffered from poor execution. However, now that I have delved deeper into the death metal sub genre, I may now speak from a more experienced position than I did before, as a relatively new member of the legions of death metal fans.

Diabolic Prophecies is the debut album of Prague-based Heaving Earth, and is a wonderful album. This CD does not suffer from poor execution, sloppy musicianship, or poor songwriting as I had mentioned previously. In fact, it nary suffers from anything at all. It is full of aggressive riffing, snappy, responsive drumming, and those cliche death growls that we all adore; which is no surprise, being named after the well-known Morbid Angel tune "Heaving Earth." While being stewards of the "Retro" Death Metal sound, it is important to note that the band often pushes the sub genre to its limits, occasionally coming across as "brutal" or "technical" death metal band, much like Dying Fetus. This keeps the music interesting and separates them from the slew bands that perpetuate a version of death metal that has become uninteresting and cliche.

First off, the musicians' instrumentation is wonderful:
Guitarist Tomáš Halama really knows what he's doing and creates this swirling vortex of carefully structured and layered riffs that spin around the listener, causing them to lose themselves, but not before snapping them back with a colorful solo or lick. What really completes the sound is the raw, unadulterated tone that is crunchy for rhythm guitar's section, but clear and pronounced for lead work. These factors cause the guitar work to spell binding on every track. It really draws in the listener on "Serpent's Domination," "Seething Fragments," and particularly the solo halfway through "Disciples of Obscurity." These are only three of the moments that stand out; listing them all would be quite the chore. Listen to it and see for yourself.
The drum work from Jirka "Jurgen" Zajíc is just phenomenal. Plenty of double bass, and blast beats from this gentleman frequent the album, just like any other death metal album. However, what is nice that, much like the famed Gene Hoglan, he knows the right amount of notes to hit, when to fill in sections, and when to instititute change-ups; never overdoing or under doing it.
The vocals, provided by Michal Štěpánek, are (pardon the language) fucking amazing. Throughout the record he utilizes a husky growl that is absolutely fitting for the band's overall sound and meshes perfectly with the instruments; raw like their sound. On top of his demonic growl, he often receives accompaniment from shrieked backing vocals, adding captivating sublimity. Adding to the top-tier vocal performance are the lyrics. Lyrical content includes violence, evil, darkness, and anti-Christianity. Here's an example:

Searching for the life enshrined
Through the centuries of mindless grime
Marching down the holy paths
In a war-like manner ruling the land
Weeping by the graves of flesh
Forsaken is the fall of man

Cursing the earth with their faith
When the serpents rise
Shadows cast upon the sheep
Shall the serpents slowly rise

Spreading your disease
Faithful in your hate
No prayers reach your ears
Beholding... the serpents reign

- Serpent's Domination

Pardon me, but holy shit! Not only can the guys play their instruments with near-perfection and construct original songs, they are also capable of writing some amazing lyrics.

Heaving Earth are a force to be reckoned with, and have much potential. Abrasive, raw, and captivating, Diabolic Prophecies is the culmination of the strengths of death metal. Exhibiting brutal and technical qualities, with scorching riffs, soaring leads, powerful drum work, and demonic vocals, it is an album that will certainly melt their peers, save a few like Dead Congregation and Arkaik. No frills or fills added, this is a no nonsense death metal album that will keep fans listening for a long time. Who knows, perhaps it will earn it's place in death metal history as the creative and influential album that it deservedly is.