As someone much wiser than me once said, “Never judge a book by its cover” and this certainly rings true with my first impression of The Heretic Order before I had heard any music from Evil Rising released via Massacre Records.
Photos of the band and song titles suggested rabid death metal but I could not be more wrong as album opener ‘Prelude’, a pulsing spoken word intro that is an evil warning of what’s to follow, as the title track is chock full of mesmerizing riffs, devilishly delivered vocals and huge choruses making it an early highlight. Heavy riffs undulate around melodic parts and guitar overload midway sees fiery solos burst out but those gnarly vocals steal the show in ‘Unholy War’. ‘Hate Is Born’, a laid back chugger builds up to chanted choruses, twin lead work and a full on drum battery outro. Godzilla stomp grooves punctuated by more guitar histrionics make ‘Omens’ the heaviest track so far.
The full on headbanger ‘Mortification Of The Flesh’ captivates for a neck snapping six minutes as a drop in pace sees a catchy cloak of doom gives ‘Under The Cross Of Pain’ a sense of foreboding. A lot of nods go to Mercyful Fate during ‘Straight Down (To Hell)’ which is no bad thing as the lead vocals give this number a theatrical vibe. Stuttering riffs backed by a thumping drum pound give ‘The Mask’ an industrial edge as an eerie spoken word piece is followed by guttural growls for a deranged end.
‘The Forest Of The Impaled’, snare driven with a tongue firmly placed in cheek lyrical content and a thrash metal workout make this brief rager utterly compelling but my stand out song is the nine minute epic ‘The Scourge Of God’ with everything thrown into the cauldron. A choral intro and madcap almost Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull delivered vocals in places are never too far away from tortured screams. A lumbering almost prog rock musical pummel crushes throughout, gaining momentum midway for a spooky spoken word and choral section. The macabre album closer ‘Visions’ rises and falls on Diary Of A Madman like rhythms as we are sent kicking and screaming to hell one more time.
The Heretic Order band line up :-
Lord Ragnar Wagner – Guitar/vocals.
Count Marcel La Vey – Guitar.
Priestess Morgana – Bass guitar/backing vocals.
Dr.Pain – Drums.