Album Review: Hierophant – “Peste”

Here’s what you need to know about Hierophant: They are from Italy, this is their 2nd full length and it is heavy.

The opening track, “Inganno”, sums up a lot of what you will hear across the enormous 10 tracks to follow. It explodes with distorted vocals (which are in-decipherable), blast beats and massive guitars. The band quickly shift to a familiar double time pace and the onslaught continues with deep dark chords and more growling. A brief metallic-hardcore breakdown drops towards the end slowing things down a bit and the whole track is over in under a couple of minutes with a little feedback leading into the next song. Repeat formula x 9.

To genre-cast this material I’d put it firmly in the dark-hardcore/crust category. Typical trademarks of the genre include punk/double time drums and blasts, low-tuned guitars and heavy chord driven arrangements instead of riffs and leads. It’s powerful, angry and dramatic.

Starting with track #5 the album begins to feature some more doom-metal inspired material which brings a welcome break to the intense and much faster first half of the record. The contrast between Hierophant when they are at their furious best and the restrained slower moments like this one shows that the band have a firm grasp on dynamics and how to fill the space without cluttering it.

The second half of the record is punctuated with these slower parts amongst blistering fast breaks and blast beats. One over arching criticism of the record would be how all the songs seem to be written in the same key and revolve heavily around the same chords. Although many of the tracks are brief and certainly pack a quite punch, the differences between them start to become less noticeable. Just a little more variety or even perhaps some different sounds would have broken it up a little more.

Overall this is a really solid album and one that fits within the genre perfectly and no doubt already lives on fans iPods already. Well done to Bridge 9 for sticking with the band for a second time around. This style isn’t exactly huge just yet, amongst the numerous other clicks and sub-genres within hardcore, but it is brutal and unrelenting. With a little more imagination this could be the sound of things to come as Europe continues to churn out these terrifyingly heavy and original crust/dark-hardcore bands!

3.5 / 5 Stars

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