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Heretic – Feast

by Paul LaPlaca at 11 November 2021, 9:17 AM

Brazil’s HERETIC has been around since 2010 and they pride themselves on the progressive mix of world instruments with metal as their signature sound. It’s a crapshoot whether this is effective and on this album it’s about 50/50 hit or miss. When band mastermind GUILHERME AGUIR focuses on the big picture, it’s an incredibly unique experience but often, it feels like mindless noodling just to get the “sound” of a particular instrument included on a song. Some judicious editing and a really experienced producer would help tighten up and focus the arrangements, particularly under main vocal lines where absent guitar leads and exotic stringed instruments pollute the soundscape with melodies that distract rather than support the compositions.

Vocalist ERIC MARTINS could also do a better job of rising above the fighting melodies by building to a stronger resolution to his lines and in a higher register. His tenor voice is very reminiscent of DENNIS DE YOUNG from STYX and is warmly familiar for old-school proggers but his high screams are slightly grating in a KING DIAMOND kind of way. Highpoints of the album are, “The Storm”, “Sacred Sea”, and “Powerless” which all feature some fine lead guitar work. There are great juxtapositions of blast beats, haunting new wave textures, and solid groove rock here. The variety of styles and approaches makes a a welcome playground for the multitude of multicultural guests here including keyboards on “Sudden Awakening” from PETE MUSH, lead guitar on “The Storm” from NYM RHOSILIR on “Tenderness” from THIAGO TSURUDA and “Sacred Sea”, “Powerless” and “Whistleblower” from Luis Maldonalle.

Production is clear and powerful with just a slightly brittle tone on the guitars. It’s a pretty decent mix/ master though with tight, in your face drums and a breathing compression on the master that is a relief from the ear fatigue most modern metal gives you with a squashed and frequency dense mix that is good for about 15 mins before you have to turn it off. Overall, this is a good album for anyone who likes their metal with some unexpected, exotic elements but the band needs an outside voice to guide how these instruments are implemented and they need to focus on how to use those melodies to blend and support the main vocal and underlying chord progressions.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Sudden Awakening
2. The Storm
3. Hiding Moon
4. Staring at Blazes
5. Tenderness
6. Sacred Sea
7. Whistleblower
8. Powerless
9. Reza
Erich Martins - Vocals
Guilherme Aguiar - Keyboards, Orchestrations, Drum programming, Sitar, Tabla, Baglama, Bouzouki, Esraj, Zourna, Shennai
Laysson Mesquita - Bass
Record Label: Soman Records


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