Hammer of Intransigence
posted on 12/2011 By:
A heresiarch is defined as a founder or leader of a heretical doctrine, a person who rages against orthodoxy. In and of itself, this is a pretty righteous name for a metal band, evil and all, but taken as a literal meaning of a band’s modus operandi… not so much, especially not with what we have here. New Zealand’s Heresiarch is the very image of death metal orthodoxy, culling mostly from a heap of ’88-’92 ugliness. On debut EP Hammer of Intransigence, they certainly get the whole unholy fucking racket thing right, but they seem to miss what made their heroes truly great: riffs and songs.
The pieces that make up Hammer of Intransigence are generally what we consider the early recording periods of some legendary acts. The unrelenting blasting frenzy of From Eslavement-era Napalm Death meets the mud of Incantation and bits of very early Immolation, if the latter was dumbed down and Bob Vigna never allowed to write an interesting riff. To put it politely, this is dull; to put it honestly, it is a chore, even at a mere 22 minutes. “Riffs” are generally just fast chord plods delivered in a punkish manner under incessant blast beats, but with little-to-zero variation or hook. Slower moments, such as the latter part of “Carnivore,” attempt to offer some variation, but are tossed in without awareness of their surroundings and suffer from the same lack of engaging material. The soloing, which has the classic sound-of-a-cat-dying thing going, is fitting and decent enough, but if you want that, why not just blast Hell Awaits until your ears bleed?
The ending bars of “Iconoclasm” almost offer a cool Napalm groove, and the beginning of “Thunrorrad” nearly gets the neck moving, but both suffer from a generally watered-down feel and the latter from a mismatched drum part. The closing “Intransigent” – which spends most of its time in plod mode but features a touch of dynamics – is easily the best thing here, but even then isn’t so much a highlight as a sign the band does have some potential.
Heresiarch is the kind of band you root for because your friends are in it, but secretly, you hope they get another guitar player who understands the arts of riffcraft and songwriting. There is nothing despicable or offensive about Hammer of Intransigence – it certainly deserves its capital-M metal card – but there is also next to nothing memorable.
Register to post comments.