Heretoir - Heretoir
Northern Silence Productions
Ambient Black Metal/Post-Rock
9 songs (50'40")
Release year: 2011
Northern Silence
Reviewed by Alex

By all intents and purposes I have to be thoroughly enjoying German Heretoir eponymous first full-length. After some demos, EP and split participations the project headed by multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Elkatanz was ready for their biggest-to-date body of work to emerge. And while the whole effort is commendable the “have to be enjoying” for me never fully translated into “can’t get it out of my head”. I truly have little negative to say about Heretoir, the album, but the music did not grip me into a vice even upon multiple listens.

While I would like to stress one more time that my reaction is purely personal and every fan of the ambient black metal genre is welcome to form his/her own opinion, the root cause of my lack of excitement for the album could be what I would otherwise embrace – its non-uniformity. With Heretoir Elkatanz tried not to be static and addressed a number of sub-genres falling under the broader roof of post-rocky atmospheric black metal. Fatigue sounded a lot like Xasthur with its muted muffled melodies and horror-inspired over-processed vocals, but perhaps with more pronounced bass and varying percussive patters. Interlude 0 is a pure noise experiment, before sliding into slower ambient Weltschmerz and its prominent melody. Graue Bauten brings harshness back (as if it was obligatory). To Follow the Sun is Alcestian, shapeless, withdrawn from society with its steady beat, and the closer title track provides an interesting play on recirculating, repeating riff, something Katatonia has done way back on Brave Murder Day and Discouraged Ones. All of these compositions are well done, confident affairs, but for me they just roll along, without many highs or lows, generating little excitement. It is telling then that my favorite moments on Heretoir were clean, dignified piano-driven instrumentals, something the artist probably intended as transition pieces only. It is not that Elkatanz vocals cause the vocalized songs on the album to sink below par, but his instrumentals captured coldness, melancholy and nostalgia better than anything else.

As much as my personal reaction and, therefore, this review was lackluster I still wanted to draw the attention of the genre fans to Heretoir existence and wish other find more enjoyment in these somber grey compositions.

Killing Songs :
Retreat to Hibernate, Heretoir
Alex quoted 68 / 100
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