After a strange, ham-fisted and very unbalanced debut EP Heir are back with an inexplicably polished and well-dressed black metal album that balances atmospheric black metal influences with hints of modern post-sludge metal. From the second this album dedicated to ‘the people of the abyss’ begins you’re greeted by a wall of brutality and deceptive fury as the song slowly descends into an eight minute slow-buzzing crawl. The dynamic and atmospheric tracks that make up this record aren’t devoid of personality but I would celebrate functional progress rather than praise the creative merit of these songs. ‘Au peuple de l’abîme’ is absolutely not rote but I do think there are far too many bands putting out similar records with more song-writing potential.
While I do not have access to the French lyrics the song titles suggest a theme of Helios and his fire upon the Earth, rather than a celebration of the sun itself. Without any ability to interpret the message of the album I’m left simply enjoying the pacing and pleasant sound of it. Heir has found a strong voice that still resembles black metal without any reservations towards northern darkness. It is a beautiful album that does for black metal what Bölzer seemed to, initially, be doing for death metal by modernizing the sound while blurring the more obvious metal edges. To call this post-black metal or sludge really takes away the overt black metal spirit showcased here.
As always I believe it is worth celebrating these sorts of monumental leaps in conception and quality when unassuming bands like Heir reach for the stars and turn out a very professional product. Is it ground-breaking? No, this ground has been steadily broken for years but I would posit the value of Heir’s debut full-length as truly fine example of modern black metal that does not self-consciously apologize for the genre itself.
|Released||October 20, 2017|
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