2017 : Listenable Records
Format : LP/CD
It’s been two years since Hetroertzen released their last full length album, Ain Soph Aur. What an incredible album it was. I exalted it as one of the best records I’d heard over the past few years, and to this very moment it’s still in regular rotation right alongside 2010’s Exaltation of Wisdom. Now, another offering fills the grail. Uprising of the Fallen presents 8 new tracks at just under an hour of new music from the band. As usual, Lamech’s own sound studio served as the ritual space for the album. After which, it was then passed on to the legendary Kark of Norway’s Dodsengel to be mastered with the intention of a CD and LP release via Listenable Records in early 2017.
Uprising of the Fallen ushers in a few changes for the band. Vocalist Frater D. has relocated to drums and Anubis continues to handle guitars while taking on the additional task of handling vocals as well (though Frater D. still lends his oratory talents at times). From what I’ve noticed this is also reflected in the live lineup too. A lot of people I’ve talked to felt that Frater D.’s presence was what initially drew them in. This is true for many, I think. I can say with authority that the overall atmosphere and presence that the band has remains unrivaled and that the aforementioned adjustments have compromised nothing. The group’s fluidity is only further highlighted by the recent restructuring. The band’s Bass player, Ham now boasts a much stronger presence within the Hetroertzen egregore. When I’d seen them on their first USA incursion he was still a relatively new member, so it’s good to see that he’s solidified himself within the lineup on this album. The lyrical composition is great as well. Between the 8 songs, Anubis has written the lyrics for half, and Frater D. the other half. I assume that most of our readers care about these things, in which case I cannot stress enough how important these lyrics are to the totality of the album. It would serve you well to read them again and again for the full experience as soon as you have the opportunity. As per usual, the content covers various occult and philosophical topics with a degree of humility and reverence that has always been rare within the genre. The heavy Enochian themes continue to maintain a presence within the band’s work just as much as they did on the previous two albums. I will not press this issue further as I’d rather let people experience the album and interpret it their own way as it allows for multiple ways in.
The first song is the closest the album has to a title track. “Uprising” starts with a trance-like tremelo riff that builds a similar mood to what Ain Soph Aur did on songs like “The Rose and the Cross.” The guitars are backed by a slowly chiming bell that serves to open the work and pave the way for Anubis’ orations. Upon reaching the second song, I began to feel like this album was focusing a bit more on using a similar musical style to Exaltation of Wisdom. “Zealous Procreation” holds a firm black metal tone, opting less for experimentation and more for methods that have been met with success before. I particularly liked the drumming on this one. There’s also a riff towards the end that has the same heaviness and punch that was heard towards the end of “The White Priestcraft” on Exaltation. The third song, “The Fallen Star,” is a mid-paced journey exploring themes of alienation and the desire for ascension. This is definitely one of my favorites. But at this point there’s no track that I think anyone should be skipping over. “Path Bearer” is the halfway point on the album. It’s definitely one of the songs that stood out the most to me. Those familiar with the song, “Ardetha,” which was released on the band’s split with Dodsengel will find a few musical comparisons. The slow pacing creates a haunting and impenetrable sound that makes it one of my favorite songs the band has recorded thus far.
“The Trial” resumes a faster pace, serving as the precursor to the remainder of the record. The end of the song has another heavier sounding bit reminiscent of the earlier song, “Zealous Procreation.” It’s actually another one that leaves me torn and unable to choose which track I like best. “Upon the Thresholds” is the sixth number on the album. The dueling vocalization of Anubis and Frater D. seemed a bit more pronounced here to me. Perhaps it’s more noticeable the longer you listen. Either way, this is definitely a welcome addition to the dynamics of Hetroertzen. “Perception of the Unseen” follows. The ambient sections are handled a bit differently this time. Instead of having them as separate tracks, the band has integrated them into the songs themselves. This is an interesting choice no doubt; especially given Ain Soph Aur’s approach. Listeners may remember ambience on that album accounting for nearly half of the album, including a fantastic piece by Edgar Kerval.
The closing musical apparition, “Lost and Betrayed” is another great one. It opens with more dueling vocalization as well as one of my favorite riffs on the album. Frater D.’s vocals are strongest on this track to me. I thought it might take me a bit to get used to the change. At one point I can even admit to being a bit nervous; not because I don’t like Anubis’ vocals, but because I had always associated him as the primary force behind Sapientia more than Hetroertzen. It’s neat to see that composition is evenly divided amongst the band’s membership.
Having discussed each track in brief fashion, there’s a certain bit that each song has that makes it stand apart from all of the rest to me. This is what distinguishes a “good” album from an “incredible album.” But this hypothesis only addresses the sound of an album. All parts are required to make a successful Black Metal record. The tightly woven artwork that illustrates the album’s concept, the music itself (obviously) that allows the listener to hear the concept, and the physical aspect of actually holding the liner notes and looking through the lyrics all serve to stimulate the senses of the listener and help them to better understand the motivation of the artist. This chain is easily and often broken. No matter how great an album sounds to me, if it doesn’t really stand for something I have little to no desire to revisit it. This is the standard for the Black Metal art form. It is a collective. It’s not just the music, not just the artwork, not just the lyrics, not just the live presence. It is all of these things. And this is the answer I give when people continuously inquire as to my unwavering love and support for this band. I will step off of my soap box and allow the listeners to soon formulate their own opinion.
Behold! The challenger rising!