01. The Escape – Part I
02. Fatigue
03. Retreat to Hibernate
04. 0
05. Weltschmerz
06. Graue Bauten
07. The Escape – Part II
08. To Follow The Sun
09. Heretoir

[Northern Silence Productions]

The passionate and cathartic blend of beautiful shoegaze and post-rock with the raw energy of black metal has struck a chord with me since my discovery of the genre last year when Alcest broke through with Écailles de Lune. It seems that since then, more and more groups have been cropping up aiming for a similar marriage of contrasting tones, most notably Deafheaven dropping their debut album Roads to Judah earlier this year and picking up quite the following here in America.

German two-man project Heretoir is of a similar vein of introspective clashing of optimism-vs-pessimism, whose self titled album snuck by under my radar back in February. I’m typically not one to keep tabs on all things blackened, so it’s easy how a gem like this can go by unnoticed considering how underground the whole sound seems to be. Heretoir may exhibit a strong black metal influence, but the focus here on Heretoir seems to be on dynamic post-rock crescendos with a mere blackened aesthetic—or whatever the opposite of ‘gloss’ may be.

Heretoir is a largely captivating album that, while not bringing much new to the table, could be one of the best albums in the fringe genre that didn’t come involve Neige (Alcest, Amesoeurs, Lantlos) at some point during its creation. The compositions are quite stunning and beautiful at times, bouncing back and forth between lulls of serenity and the odd burst of fury. Organic dreamscapes clash with depressive nightmares in such a way that it creates a dynamic experience and portrays real emotion.

Heretoir shines the brightest when the music does all of the talking, where lush atmospherics and melodic ethereal instrumentation is given free range. Vocally, Heretoir is competent in both harsh and clean styles. The distant and reverby screaming is a genre staple and Heretoir abides by it without any second thought. The cleans, while shaky at times in their delivery, work well in context. Even still, the music does a better job of speaking for itself through most of Heretoir.

The black metal sections meld well with the melodic shoegaze sound, which is one of the album’s charms. The two sounds aren’t as completely disparate as one would think, as rushes of tremolo picked melodies carry the atmosphere across the rougher blackened terrain. Songs like “Weltschmerz” pull off both aspects beautifully, but the harsh vocals sometimes feel like they’re forced and out of place, like on “Graue Bauten,” for example.

Heretoir is a very moving album that manages to continue the fledgling genre’s core sound without much innovation. Not much innovation is actually needed for something of this caliber, though. This passionate full-length debut instills much promise in these depressive German metallers, and my eyes and ears are open for the follow-up.


Heretoir – Heretoir gets…


– JR


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