Hetroertzen, Exaltation of Wisdom

Bands are seemingly always trying to reinvent black metal - incorporating sounds from other genres or tinkering with the dynamics to try to do something new and fresh. I'm all for experimentation, because without it, things tend to stagnate and sound rather lifeless. But sometimes there's just too much experimentation going on and no matter their good intentions, bands lose track of the roots of black metal and end up sounding lame.

And honestly, black metal never really needed to be reinvented; for a while, bands just forgot how to write good songs and how to play with honesty, passion, and integrity. That is most certainly not the case for Chilean black metal horde Hetroertzen, whose album Exaltation of Wisdom is one of the most refreshingly crisp black metal albums that I've heard in quite a while. They're not doing anything new or revolutionary for black metal, but that is by all means a good thing, because they've focused their creative energies on simply making a high-quality black metal record.

Exaltation of Wisdom, the band's fourth full-length album, is made up of 7 songs and clocks in at about 52 minutes. Their is no filler here - all 7 songs are perfect in and for what they are. They are generally fast-paced, rhythmically driving occult black metal songs that feature great riffs, killer leads that are perfectly placed and not over-done (almost an 80s heavy metal vibe to some of the leads, which I LOVE), scathing vocals, and the unholiest of dark and irreverent atmospheres. The atmosphere on this record is intense, and while everything else is well done, the atmosphere is what drives this into the category of being a great record instead of just a very good one. The aura is not bone-chillingly haunting or overwhelmingly claustrophobic - just dark, menacing, and mysterious enough to make you want to play this record again and again. What I am reminded of when I play this is the first time I heard Nightbringer's Death and the Black Work, which just happens to be a favorite of mine. Perhaps that gives you some context.

I honestly can't get enough of it. My recommendation is that you pick this CD up from Barghest today (sorry, don't know of a US distro, but it's worth paying for the overseas shipping costs, which shouldn't be too high in the first place - it's just a CD) and play it loud. I spent all morning shaking the walls of my house with it, and it felt great. Comes in a nice full-color digipack with a 24 page booklet featuring lyrics and tremendous artwork.

While you're at Barghest, I can also recommend the debut cassette EP from Iceland's Vansköpun. 3 songs, about 19 minutes of fierce, hard-hitting, no-frills black metal. Brutal and heavy, it promises of good things to come from these gents. A couple of these songs are pretty damned catchy, and tend to get stuck in your head if you're not careful.

* * *

sacred is the Cross
sacred is the Trial
sacred is the Light
sacred is the Fire

4 comments:

Jolocho said...

100% agree in your statement: black metal just needs to be taked seriously. It just needs to be composed in certain conditions. No need of fireworks here.

Anonymous said...

their facebook says there swedish..

Anonymous said...

They started out as Hhada back when they lived in Chile about '98 I think. Then they relocated to Sweden and changed their name to Hetroertzen.

Andreas Bauer said...

They were called Hetroertzen way before they moved to Sweden.