Mhorgl – Heresiarch (Sovereign Records)

Australia’s rising death metallers almost deliver the goods

A bands third album is usually the one which dictates whether the group will increase, or sustain popularity, or show them up for the shameless hacks they could well be. The first album comes with little pressure, the notorious ‘difficult second album’ follows. Australian black/death metallers Mhorgl navigated the first two with relative ease, and now Heresiarch confirms that these guys are the real evil deal.

Tracks like Black Wolf Militia and Inheriting The Mantle Of Power will devour you. They are incredibly fast and what’s more impressive is just how tight a band Mhorgl is. Just when you think they couldn’t possibly get any faster or heavier, they step it up a gear. They combine angry power metal with fast punk and fuse it with a black metal sound. Everything is perfectly synchronised.

Just when I thought I was about to suffer a mental hernia from the awesome power of the opening 4 tracks came the blessed relief of the acoustic guitar interlude of The Seed Of Rebellion – perfect timing and evidence of intelligent album making. That along with the similar Hostis Humani Generis allowed me to take a breath, which makes the super-charged onslaughts of Fallen and Impiety Storm all the more powerful.

However, this soon forms a pattern of acoustic-then-power. What at first was a great relief eventually becomes distracting. Don’t get me wrong, these guys are seriously talented songwriters, but it seems as though they lack confidence in the album. It is as if they don’t believe the listener will cope with such powerfully energetic tracks and need some acoustic relief.

Heresiarch combines all the elements of a great album. What prevents it from being such is that not all the parts are in the right order. However, Mhorgl are really stepping up a new gear here. It is a pretty hardcore listen and takes a lot of energy but whack it in your stereo and it is very hard to turn away.