Review by Fernando on September 15, 2023.
The Polish Anti-clerical horde are back again with their fifth album Disintegration. This band has become very prolific and this new album comes out just over a year after their fourth LP Sacra Doctrina which can be a good thing or bad thing. However, this band has definitely proven the former. I’ve already covered this band’s past records, and while they don’t reinvent the wheel or anything in black metal, they’ve proven multiple times to be talented and driven musicians on their own accord, and with a clear Polish flair to distinguish themselves from their obvious influences. And for Disintegration the band has pretty much nailed their own sound, while also expanding beyond it.
One of the biggest improvements in Hegeroth’s sound is their compositions. This album as a whole has the band’s most varied songwriting yet, as they combine melody, speed, aggression and bring in some very welcomed influences from thrash and death metal that weren’t as prevalent on their previous albums, if at all. All together they've created a sound that is very dark and intense, but also very modern, as Hegeroth are able to not sound like copyists or recyclers. In many areas this record reminds me of their fellow Poles and blackened thrash contemporaries Witchmaster and Voidhanger, but with a darker and, as mentioned already, more dynamic songwriting.
The production on the record really helps the band, it’s not overly polished nor is it too raw, it’s that perfect balance that keeps the grit while also making sure every individual instrument is audible and has room to shine, with the bass and drumming benefiting the most, and the guitars and vocals being equally powerful. Furthermore, this is also a very compact record, the songs are on the shorter side when compared to other black metal bands but the band do a good job of each song being substantial, also the band wastes no time at all, since all the songs erupt in a pleasing way. While I personally really enjoy long songs, I can also really appreciate Hegeroth’s no bullshit approach, it’s very old-school in a good way as they recall first wave black metal, without just wholesale copying it to their own detriment, it’s an adherence to the ethos, while carving their own sound.
Overall, I was genuinely surprised by Hegeroth, going into this record I thought I would hear solid but unsurprising black metal and this made me feel like a fool. Granted, a lot of black metal diehards may not be all that into “modern” black metal, but to them I say, try it anyway, because this is a solid, fresh record that doesn’t overstay its welcome, takes the tried and true paths and builds something of its own and without any bells and whistles. My only real critique is how the last song just ends but other than that this is solid.
Best tracks: 'Debased', 'The Ritual', 'The Queen Of Spiders'
Rating: 9 out of 10887
Review by Vladimir on September 9, 2023.
As the year of 2023 begins to slowly disintegrate while nearing its end, metal releases just keep on coming and there are some that symbolically represent the fall of this year. The topic of this review is a polish black metal band Hegeroth and their upcoming fifth full-length album Disintegration, due to be released on October 9th this year.
Hegeroth utilizes a very heavy and aggressive approach where tremolo picking riffs and blast beat drums altogether sound like grinding steel, which combined with the harsh vocal style makes it sound more destructive. Some riffs in particular have a touch of musical dissonance in them, the best example being the third track 'The Dirt' which in its less than 3-minute runtime feels like a very cacophonic serenade. The album also manages to throw in some dose of rhythmic catchiness to the already established bone crushing, which is present on tracks 'The Ritual' and 'The Shepherd'. Something that caught my eye during the track 'The Ring' was a section where the vocalist Bila starts singing in a higher register, which unexpectedly and perhaps unintentionally sounded like Brian Johnson of AC/DC. There were times where I couldn’t help but think that the album has some moments that reminded me of Morbid Angel, even at times I would keep telling myself “This part here is what you’d get if Morbid Angel played black metal”, especially on tracks such as 'Uplifted' and 'The Ring'. Throughout my listening, I personally struggled to find a certain track or even a riff that really manages to stand out, because the album is sort of straightforward and one-dimensional, despite there being some kickass moments. It’s not a matter of criticism towards the band’s performance and musicality, far from it, but it’s mostly aimed at their songwriting, which feels a bit lackluster and is anything but memorable. There is not really that much I could say about the album’s sound production other than the fact that it’s heavy yet a tad bit overproduced.
In the end, despite its one-dimensional songwriting and generally lack of memorable moments, I think that Disintegration is an overall decent album that has its strengths and weaknesses. Even though in my opinion the album definitely could have been better, I believe it would still manage to get some attention and praise from fans of modern black metal.
Rating: 7.2 out of 10887