Hereza – I Become Death (2016)

Some albums that I work with require a song by song exploration, but the same can’t be said for this sophomore effort by Croatian death metallers, Hereza. It’s quite straight-forward in both it’s fierce and timely delivery. The record already has an astonishing 90% over at Metal Archives, which means that someone was elated by it – and really, it’s quite crushing. There’s a little bit of everything crammed into this little disc, which features hefty grooves, hints of hardcore, classic thrash (with solos to boot) and even some hints of prog here and there to shake things up a bit. Sometimes frontman Ivan’s vocal approach will sound downright hardcore, but it doesn’t hurt the music and almost gives it an ancient sense, sort of like the Obituary and Unleashed albums that it borrows from. As far as Swedish death metal goes, these guys more or less painted by numbers there – but it sounds good enough that you’re not going to give too much of a shit about that and will instead be pleased by the relatively potent hammering that you’re going to receive in this half-hour of chaos. Did I mention that there are a few tremolos here and there too? Because, why not? With a band like Hereza, the listener is exposed to a great deal of pulse-pounding extremity in such a short amount of time that one could liken it to an adrenaline shot, which it could be definitely used for. Death metal and hard labor go together, never forget that. This kind of record is definitely a working man’s album, but it’s also the kind of disc that you can go home and jam if you’re pissed about everything and need to vent.

Now I will criticize the disc for once again using that tired “Now I become death, the destroyer of worlds” quote that I’ve heard thousands of times. I even think Linkin Park used the damn quote on one of their albums now. It’s just truly tired out, so much so that I may purposely bastardize the quote on our new album just to poke fun at all the bands I have heard over the years that add this quote onto their album. Worse yet, it’s what the album’s title is more or less, even though it definitely fits with the amount of fury unleashed within this recording. It will smash you through the wall, and through the wall behind that one. There’s not doubt about that. The only real detriment on the entire album is the fact that spoken word pieces are even uttered. A band like this really doesn’t need that does of atmosphere. Hereza, let me be frank, but the last thing a metalhead wants is a moment where he has to pause his jamming out of the record. Another oddity I discovered with the disc is that there’s only one real song with a melodic chorus, called “Full Moon Slaughter.” It’s a great effort, definitely giving us melodic death metal (Oh, did I forget to mention that? Well, this one is a real hodgepodge, but only in the very best of ways) where we do not expect it, backed with a corpsegrinding effort that comes just as we should expect it. So basically, listeners will need to expect the unexpected with the expected. I know, that’s a tongue-twister, but it works and shows the veritable versatility of this fine act. There are very few discs of it’s type where a listener will be exposed to so many different metallic realms in one listen, especially these days where bands enjoy writing the same song ten or twelve times for one album. I really feel like I must say something to the tune of; “I’ve heard that one already, could you play another?” Yet such is not so with the piledriving powerhouse that is Hereza. It’s a fine record and I’m quite glad that that they’ve sent it to me.

I’ll be honest with you – the first time I sat down to listen to this one, I didn’t really get it. It didn’t feel all that special or unique. But as I’ve sat down and listened to it twice in a row after that inaugural listen on my earbuds, I’m definitely hearing a much more fulfilling band. I Become Death is no masterpiece and probably won’t be posted in the hallowed halls of death metal with the greats, but it’ll definitely be placed fairly close to that section in this proverbial metal gallery. (I do wish that such a thing did exist, but it would probably be bastardized in a no less than a couple of years). Though it’s no doubt an inasanely killer album that barely ever lets up and shows the might of Croatian metal, a realm that I have not gotten a chance to explore. If there is something to be said for Croatian death metal, then I can assuredly say that Hereza leads at the top of the pack.

(10 Tracks, 29:00)



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