Monday, January 16, 2012

Mhorgl - Heresiarch

Sovereign Records/Green Media Distribution

Perth (Western Australia) based blackened death metal act Mhorgl aren’t the most well-known extreme metal act on the scene, despite having already released two previous full-length efforts to their name (Namely 2007’s ‘The Sacrificial Flame’ and 2010’s ‘Antinomian’, both of which were independently released). But if their third and latest release ‘Heresiarch’ is anything to go by, Mhorgl is surely destined to make a name for themselves in no time as one of the country’s best kept secrets within the underground extreme metal scene.
Having impressed me with the growth and progression the band made between their first and second full-length efforts (Their debut sounding very raw, akin to Darkthrone and Aura Noir, and their sophomore effort sounding far more polished, modern and focussed), I was keen to see where Mhorgl would take their next step musically. And after giving the album several spins, it’s clear to see (And hear) that the four piece act (Comprising of vocalist Sam Moretta, ex-Tyrant/Infected guitarist Robert Thorpe, ex-Tyrant/Infected/The Furor guitarist/bassist James Campbell and ex-Pathogen/The Furor/Impiety drummer Louis Rando) have once again broadened their blasphemous sound further into the melodic side of black metal, without losing any of the intensity and extremity of their former releases.
The opening track ‘Inheriting The Mantle Of Power’ immediately grabs the listener by the throat from the moment it starts, and doesn’t let go of its powerful grip for a single moment throughout its near five minute duration. The band serves up an uncompromising blast of modern influenced black metal, with speed and technical proficiency that showcases the depth of experience from all those involved. While the track is a long one, there are enough twists and changes in riff structures and tempos to keep things interesting, even if the vocals can be a little one-dimensional after a while.
While the opening track is undoubtedly a highlight in its own right, it’s tracks like the progressive tinged ‘Ophidian Legacy’, the blackened thrash ‘n’ roll of ‘Black Wolf Militia’ and ‘Ravenous Wargod’ (Which is a personal favourite of this writers), and the slower and calculated groove within ‘Fallen’ where the band show some push towards the more uncharted territory in the song writing sense, which really allows ‘Heresiarch’ to stand out from the band’s former releases.
Of course, that’s not to say that the band has completely forsaken the sound they produced on ‘Antinomian’, with the epic ‘Impiety Storm’, ‘Terror Manifesto’ and ‘Purity’ pulverising the listener into completely submission – much in the same way of the opening track.
In terms of negatives, ‘Heresiarch’ has few, but some nonetheless. The four acoustic instrumental pieces (‘The Seed Of Rebellion’, ‘Hostis Humani Generis’, ‘Soliloquy’ and ‘The Hubris Of The Departed’) don’t mesh well with some of the more extreme material, and in fact make the album seem much longer that what it actually is. The only other point is that over the course of the entire album, Moretta’s vocals can become a little monotonous.
Minor quibbles aside, Mhorgl has really put together a strong album with ‘Heresiarch’, and one that builds upon the strength shown on ‘Antinomian’, and taken those steps further into the unknown with great results.
If you’re looking for something a little more on the obscure side of things within the Australian metal scene, then look no further than Mhorgl’s latest effort.

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© Justin Donnelly