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Masterful Occult Black Metal - 94%

Fulgurius, December 13th, 2011

The CD version of Hetroertzen's fourth full-length, "Exaltation of Wisdom", released by Lamech Records in collaboration with Barghest, comes in impressive deluxe digipak with even more impressive 24-pages booklet with lyrics and great illustrations that perfectly supplement the audial part of the release and help the listener to understand the album's conception and to set the appropriate mood for the listening séance.

The album's musical part consists of ambient intro and six black metal tracks with thoughtful structure and mystical atmosphere. Composition-wise it reminds of Norwegian, Swedish and German black metal classics of the 1990's with their alternation of fast and relentless passages with slower atmospheric parts. Sound-wise, though, "Exaltation of Wisdom" is closer to the recent adepts of occult black metal like Nightbringer or Acherontas; I'd say it is closer to the former than the latter as Hetroertzen retains rather ascetic approach to melodiousness: their riffs are mostly grim and cold, and never overtly melodic or "catchy", though at times they venture on some lyrical digressions like in the part with soloing guitar in "Mystery of the Fallen". One reason for the comparison with the abovementioned bands is the use of melodic dissonances that wasn't that frequent 15 or 20 years ago, though it is nicely contrasted with occasional clean epic backing vocals performed by Orm (Ormgård, Wod etc) that create additional ties to the old Scandinavian bands. The album culminates in the final track called "The White Priesthood", which is perhaps the most outstanding here with its combination of tasty atmospheric riffs with more old-school thrash/heavy-flavoured parts.

This album has everything that the true black metal should have: decent compositions, excellent musicianship, thoughtful lyrics and serious approach to the recording and mixing process with the retention of characteristic rawness of the sound and the creation of great magical atmosphere. Recommended to everyone looking for serious occult black metal.