HIEROPHANT “Death Siege”

By Lord Randall

A handful of albums over a dozen years of recorded history is nothing so scoff at for any band. And when said band – in this case HIEROPHANT – has the gumption to cover a band as staunch and without compromise as BOLT THROWER, one can only assume that band fancies itself as dedicated.

Anyone who knows me knows I’m not a fan of intro tracks whatsoever, but “Mortem Aeternam” is less an intro than a barrage of sonic violence assaulting your ears, all instruments and voices caterwauling, haranguing, defiling and dismembering into “Seeds Of Vengeance”. More Metal ™ than its early grind/D-beat work, but still having a sense of unstoppable force and chaos that both those styles demand, it’s clear HIEROPHANT didn’t come to play around. “Bloodbath Compendium” conjures an even more off-the-rails DRAWN AND QUARTERED or even Greece’s ENSHADOWED in its ferocity, but there’s a moment [2:41-3:03] when I’m not sure if the recording level dropped or there was simply so damn much noise that it all became a fog of noise. Intentional or not, what it does to is snap the listener back to attention just in time for the equally blistering “Crypt Of Existence”.

There’s a shit-ton going on at all times within “Death Siege”, and the aforementioned song is a prime example, so chock full of sound is each moment. Unrelenting, yet not distracted, and seemingly engineered to envelop, to bury the ears unfortunate enough to hear in a tomb of aural destruction for the 40-minute playing time, “Abysmal Annihilation” and the title track’s forward-racing stride amid treble-cranked stringed malevolence simply confirm the dedication mentioned prior.

Layer upon layer, shifting, slithering time signatures and the culmination of all things dark as seen through the lens of HEIROPHANT, “Nemesis Of Thy Mortals” completes this wild ride.

Simply put, “Death Siege” is one of the most intriguing metal releases of the year as it winds to a close. Equal parts – and often simultaneously – black and death, this is an album where previously unheard things will reveal themselves, even many listens later.