Hieronymus Bosch - Equivoke
Paimon/CD Maximum
Progressive Death Metal
10 songs (54:42)
Release year: 2008
Hieronymus Bosch
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

A rather marvellous band that never got the praise they deserved in their all too brief lifetime, Russian Proggers Hieronymus Bosch’s third album was my first exposure to them, and remains on my playlist more or less constantly through sheer perplexing quality. It’s the sort of album that is so complex and intelligent that you can listen to it repeatedly trying to get some kind of understanding without ever getting bored. At once heavy and melodic, brutal and progressive, constantly headbangable and never less than gripping, Equivoke is a quite fantastic listen, constructing varied technical landscapes without losing the art of songcraft. That’s an important point – a lot of bands that fit this level of technical proficiency into their music forget that they’re playing to an audience, but Hieronymus Bosch are well aware of the listeners and do everything in their power to make Equivoke as listenable and, well, fun an album as possible. Whether you like your Death Metal to feature groovy necksnapping riffs or speedy jazz-laden breakdowns, you’ll be more than satisfied with this, an album that caters for multiple tastes and leaves everyone quite happy.

Describing individual tracks is rather impossible given space limitations, but rest assured there’s nothing but brilliance at play. Opener Zero On A Dice mixes late-period Death-riffing with Jazzy flourishes and near-epic melodies, all tied together in six minutes of the best Death Metal you’ve ever heard. Fingerprint Labyrinth takes an old-school Melodeath approach with copious varied leadwork, interjected with speedy technicality and a chorus straight from the Hypocrisy playbook. Together they make up one of the finest opening one-two punches of any Death Metal album, anywhere, not least because they’re so damn enjoyable to listen to. The rest of the album follows closely behind, the spindly riff constructs of Monad Hecatomb with the catchiest chorus yet a personal highlight, and even short interludes like Forlorn Luminary pleasant stopgaps that fit in perfectly with the verging-on-fusion feel overall. There’s not a filler track throughout, more personal highlights including Tracer Bullet Falling Star, being a nicely melancholic track that reminded me of Aussie alchemists Alarum, whilst Broke begins in an almost Industrial zone before launching into a typically varied riff assault.

As mentioned, there’s not a great deal of detail that can be related, but this is by no means a bad thing. Like a tech-death version of Opeth from some alternate universe, Hieronymus Bosch play their own fascinating and unique style of Death Metal which must be heard to be believed, and whilst fans will forever mourn the band’s passing, their music is so replayable that playing the albums again is always a good option. Equivoke may or may not be their best, but it’s the easiest place to start in the band’s lamentably short discography.

Killing Songs :
Zero On A Dice, Fingerprint Labyrinth, Monad Hecatomb, Tracer Bullet Falling Star, Broke
Goat quoted 89 / 100
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