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Heresiarch – Death Ordinance

Death Ordinance
by Anton Sanatov at 06 November 2017, 10:50 PM

Ahhh…heresy; where would we be without it? No sin to atone for, none to commit. A world of purity and light…but where’s the fun in that? Right?

Nevertheless, the concept of wrongdoing is there for a reason…one of which is to maintain a standard within a given field – be it theological or, in this case, musical. A lot of us treat music as religion, and it is only right to seek out the blasphemers of this sacred body.

Of course, not all dissidents are heretics by design…some are just overzealous followers that have misunderstood the teachings, and Death Metal - being the complicated chapter of the Metal that it is - often drives its zealots to extremes that go beyond worship. What I am speaking of here is the well-know phenomenon of…how should I put it?…obsessing over “heaviness”. Yes, Death Metal is a genre that is centred on “heaviness”, but it also a musical genre, and unfortunately on “Death Ordinance” (their sophomore effort) New Zealanders HERESIARCH appear to have forgotten that.

On the surface “Death Ordinance” should be a devoted Metalhead’s dream. The band’s merciless progeny of Black and Death Metal is beyond bestial. Following the slow, blackened introductory track that is “Concecrating Fire”, HERESIARCH trap you in the undercarriage of the very tank that is on the album’s cover with “Storming Upon Knaves” and its very much identical follow ups “Harbinger” and “Ruination”. To say that these tracks are an assault would be an outrageous understatement. The menacing trio drop you into a torturous furnace of complete, stone-grinding despair as they pummel you with unrelenting blast beats, CANNIBAL CORPSE-esque death growls and almost inaudibly muddy guitars.

Now, for some this may be a twisted paradise, and if you are indeed a connoisseur of such metallurgic anarchies then more power to you, but others might see it just for the messy Metal effort that it really is. Finding a shred of compositional merit within “Death Ordinance” it is like trying to take a nap in a steel factory. Understandably it is not supposed to be a melodic enterprise, but such a production as this only comes to serve as a stereotypical example of the genre employed by mainstream audiences.

The production is also quite abysmal. The drums and vocals drown out any shred of discernable guitar work whilst the overall mix makes a complete mush of almost everything. The band’s only saving graces arrive when they slow things and tap into their Black Metal roots on tracks like “The Yoke” and “Righteous Upsurgence”, but even then it’s not long until they can’t withhold their urges to demolish every stem of composition with a barrage of blast beats and tremolo picking.

Overall – it is either pure Metal or pure vulgarity.In any case HERESIARCH unfortunately seem to be too overindulged in their love for brutal heaviness to contribute anything original or even perceptibly structural to “Death Ordinance”, which ends up being just another underground exercise in cacophonous savagery.

Songwriting: 3
Originality: 1
Memorability: 1
Production: 4

1 Star Rating

1. Consecrating Fire
2. Storming Upon Knaves
3. Harbinger
4. Ruination
5. The Yoke
6. Iron Harvest
7. Lupine Epoch
8. Righteous Upsurgence
9. Desert of Ash
Record Label: Dark Descent Records


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Edited 01 April 2023

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