Sunday, January 4, 2015

Heaving Earth - Denouncing The Holy Trinity

About a month from now, Heaving Earth, the stalwart Czechs, will release Denouncing The Holy Trinity and hopefully draw the attention of, well, everyone. As with most of my listening habits  Heaving Earth crept into my attention in the form of a cassette - the Engulfed split with Australia's Altars. Impressing upon me the vibe of precise yet murky constructs, Heaving Earth are at once familiar and completely alien. Like a slimy garden slug powered by gears and hydraulics opening and snapping nightmarish maws, Heaving Earth approach the listener with both immediate and terrifying brutality but also with an underlying balmy character. It all depends on what part of the mix you focus on. For me, the more than fifty minutes of extremity here could have been cut back and may be a little overkill, however since the still sickeningly awesome "I am Nothing," appears at the eight-spot, my interest is revitalized and it helps adjust my attention again. Heaving Earth have something special here. The passion runs thick through this record from the music through the imagery and anyone that looks at the titles to songs like "Worms of Rusted Congregation" or "Doomed Before Inception" and doesn't get a hopeful shiver of delight for the future of death metal should leave the chamber immediately.

Heaving Earth rekindle the days which old timers still remember. The clear influence of Morbid Angel, particularly in the peculiar rhythmic flows, is present. Other New York death metal influences show strength in Heaving Earth's sound but where Heaving Earth make their own inroads are in the undulations of melody that appear, disappear and reappear at sporadic moments amidst the chaotic machine of blasting, riffs, and technicality. Also noteworthy are the classical elements that slip into the compositions. Each song has moments that separates it from the others. Opening with the atonally blissful "The Final Crowning," Denouncing the Holy Trinity is challenging from the onset. The single, "Doomed Before Inception," is heavy in tremolo lines and a deep, dark foreboding melody courses through halfway into the track stirring flashes of Modest Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain." Most likely this is just a similar menacing progression which projects into the short interlude "And The Mighty Shall Fall," and not intended, yet it's these sorts of moments that make albums more than a sum of their parts sometimes - brief hints of things that might exist to one listener, and not to others. "Worms of Rusted Congregation" could have appeared on Formulas Fatal to the Flesh quite smoothly and is notably slower and more formal but no less barbaric.

The shrill "Into the Sea of Fire" serves as the proper halfway mark of Denouncing the Holy Trinity before "Forging Arcane Heresy," a song I would have preferred to appear after "I Am Nothing," if only because the eternally memorable track would just absolutely decimate me after the most defined break in this album's song list. Just the same as on the split, this track simply tosses me around like a sack of rice ready to be sold at market. The escalating melodies that simmer throughout culminate in the albums most memorable riffs. The track is followed by "Into The Depths of Abomination," which also appeared on Engulfed. It's a little strange that both tracks would once again be placed back to back but the familiarity of the two in this order was so good before, there's really no reason to separate them. After the peaceful interlude, "Where The Purified Essence Descends Ablaze," Denouncing the Holy Trinity's longest track, the seven and a half minute long "Jesus Died" effectively ends the album with an a-grade circle pit soundtrack thanks to strong transition out of the verse section and into the fiery leads.

All five of the members are given ample showing here with the focus on Jaroslav Santrucek and Tomas Halama's guitar playing and Jirka Zajic's drumming. Michal Stepanek gives a commendable vocal performance that doesn't break new ground but fulfills the listener's expectations with deep growls and enough personality to be more than typical. Pavel Satra's bass is quite audible once you pick it out in the mix. This is a genuinely enjoyable and powerful release. It may end up being only a tiny blip on the radar for many reasons but from what I can see, this is really the first noteworthy release of the year based on the releases I've seen planned. It shows refinement, originality, and energy in a genre often lacking these attributes.

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