Heriot are a band we’ve encountered a couple of times before, the first being when we chatted to them before Bloodstock this year. They played the New Blood stage and, at the end of this month, will release their EP World Collapse. It builds on last year’s Violence which they threw out for free and is a similar, but somehow even heavier, blend of doom and hardcore. Thrash metal this isn’t!
Kicking off with the fairly short “Myrr”, it’s quickly apparent that this is a band that won’t be releasing a jaunty Christmas tune this year. With an incredible level of distortion, slow drumbeats and wailed vocals, it’s 2 1/2 minutes of mental anguish pressed onto a CD.
“China Lake” continues the beating and, despite having a faster flury towards the end, could never be classed as upbeat or “dance to-able”. The video for the track dropped yesterday and you can listen to it by scrolling down. Prepare yourself…
“Kleptocracy” lures you into a false sense of security with its acoustic guitar intro in the same way that “To Live Is To Die” did back in the day on …And Justice For All. There’s a dirtier, distorted undercurrent but the strummed notes soon break into something akin to a heavier Alice in Chains number (imagine “Would?” dropped down an octave and with a vocalist who’s had a really, really bad bit of news). At the halfway point, though, the brutality kicks back in again and normal service is resumed.
Finally – all miserable things must come to an end – we have the title track. Leading in with a picked bass intro, it’s got the most head-nodding rhythm of any of the four songs here… for a while, before breaking off into angst territory once more. This song could be used to define the term “heavy metal”, deliberate emphasis on the heavy.
On first listen a couple of weeks back, I confess I was in the wrong mood for this EP and I just didn’t quite get it. As I write the review, it’s almost 5am and I’m getting over a head cold. I’ve had a long week and I’ve had some bad news. I feel down. World Collapse was the perfect soundtrack. I got it. It got me.
In fact, World Collapse is possibly one of the heaviest collections of tracks I’ve heard in a long time which still manage to remain musical. Heriot have managed to take the heart-wrenching agony of Ghost Bath (and I’m one of the few people I know who enjoyed their Bloodstock set this year), slowed it right down and mixed it with the doom beginnings of early Black Sabbath. They’ve resisted the urge to speed things up, or make it a bit easier to get into.
I award this EP five “singers with their heads bowed, on their knees, screaming into the microphone with their spare hand clutching the air” out of five.