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Heretoir - The Circle

The Circle
by Erika Kuenstler at 10 February 2017, 10:41 AM

Having been around for over a decade, German band HERETOIR will be unleashing their sophomore album “The Circle” on 24th March this year, an opus five years in the making. Entitled “The Circle” because of its conceptualisation of the circle of life, this release deals with the themes of birth, death, and rebirth. And to convey such a variety of emotions, HERETOIR draws on a slew of influences, ranging all the way from Shoegaze to Progressive elements. Not least of all, this album also features a guest vocal appearance by Neige, mastermind behind the much beloved French Post-Metal band ALCEST.

Again featuring work by the famous French artist Fursy Teyssier for the cover, “The Circle” spans over an hour, and takes the listener on a formidable journey starting out in a lighter vein before the darkness steadily takes over. But just as you think all hope is lost, a light starts shimmering on the horizon, as gradually things get lighter again. Starting off with the intro “Alpha”, a serene celestial melody comes creeping in on fragile velveteen wings, before swelling into “The White”, with a powerful start melting into soothing clean vocals before soaring into expansive heavier sections. Dreamlike whispers of a melody lead us into “Inhale”, its upbeat pace perfectly tempered by a tranquil backing melody. This song in itself already seems to tell a story, with unforeseen changes in tempo and song structure working together to create a unique experience. “Golden Dust” on the other hand takes the pace down, with hazy and illusive melodies shimmering through the ether. In contrast to this, “My Dreams are Lights in the Sky” is an instrumental song which sees more Metal elements shine through, with faster guitar sections coming to the fore, taking the listener soaring through convoluted soundscapes. This flows seamlessly into “XIX XXI XIV”, with the sound of an ocean sending relaxing waves through us, as a tolling bell adds a mournful undertow.  This interlude is shattered by the entrance of “Exhale”, a slower and heavier counter to the fast rush of “Inhale”. However, this has an almost cathartic feel to it, releasing a build-up of tension and negativity. This morphs into the melancholic darkness of “Eclipse”, with more clean vocals adding a keening note, whilst the harsher parts amplify the ponderous atmosphere. And like the sun coming out after a storm, “Laniakea Dances (Soleils Couchants)” takes on a hopeful and optimistic sound, and sees the album return to a lighter vein, speaking of promises yet to come. “Fading with the Grey” takes the penultimate spot, with a strong melody pressing relentlessly on, with a victorious tinge to it, giving one the feeling that come what may, problems can always be overcome. Finally, we come to “The Circle (Omega)”, a long mid-pace affair that conjures images of letting go the past and moving forward once more.

Overall, “The Circle” is an emotionally laden album that allows moments of searing serenity to burst forth from the melancholic darkness. Unexpected twists keep the album from becoming repetitive background noise. That being said, there are few outstanding moments, but perhaps this is in keeping with the idea of  portraying a never-ending cycle. This music certainly won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but for those who really enjoy the dreamy Post-Metal side of the genre should at least check out “The Circle”. It may not be mind-blowing, and does get a bit long-winded in parts, but is nonetheless a good release, and is definitely worth having a listen. With the unveiling of “The Circle”, HERETOIR will be launching on a European tour in the spring, so be sure to try and catch them live: their shows are absolutely spellbinding!

Originality: 7
Songwriting: 8
Production: 7
Memorability: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Alpha
2. The White
3. Inhale
4. Golden Dust
5. My Dreams are Lights in the Sky
7. Exhale
8. Eclipse
9. Laniakea Dances (Soleils Couchants)
10. Fading with the Grey
11. The Circle (Omega)
David – vocals, guitar
Matthias – bass
Max – guitar
Nils – drums
Record Label: Northern Silence Productions


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