Desolate, despairing, and devastating…
Released by Les Acteurs de l’Ombre Productions on 20 October 2017
Review by Jason Guest
Toulouse’s Heir first came to my attention with last year’s split with In Cauda Venenum and Spectrale (reviewed here), their heaving mass of post-black metal / sludge made a lasting impression. In preparing this review, I took a listen to their 2016 debut EP Asservi (on their Bandcamp page) and revisited the three tracks from the split. What is readily apparent is that this band is very much in the ascent. The differences between the good-but-not-great debut EP, the more-than-impressive tracks on the split, and this, their first full length, are considerable. Just two years into their existence, Heir have sharpened their song craft and honed their musicianship to produce a magnificent piece of work.
The eight-and-a-half minute ‘Au Siècle des Siècles’ is quick to attack, the black metal barrage intense and immediate, the atmospheric density and sheer weight maintained through the slower and darkly brooding passages. What impresses the most about this track is that it never once threatens to break under its own weight, the light and the dark balanced across countless captivating shades. Despite its subtler but no less eerie opening, ‘L’Heure d’Helios’ sees the band pushing into murkier territories and noxious depths, the band’s black and sludge metal leanings marrying superbly. Then comes ‘Meltem’, the band again exploring all that the dynamic range between light and dark offers for a simultaneously harrowing and driving track. And both ‘L’Âme des Foules’ and ‘Cendres’ continue to delve into the darkness to draw forth all kinds of blissfully dissonant sounds and atmospheres.
Masters of their craft, Heir combine the delicate with the gruesome, the imposing with the cathartic, the suffocating with the airily expansive, and the elegant with the unremittingly heavy. The tempos shift seamlessly between furious gallop and determined crawl while the atmospheric and the ambient and the dense and the dirty are explored in all their majestic brutality. An album that’s very difficult to find fault with, Heir have made their mark. Take heed.
- Au Siècle des Siècles
- L’Heure d’Helios
- L’Âme des Foules
Bonus track for Internet only: Hiérophante (unavailable for this review)