Distributor/Label: Blood Harvest
JT – Guitar
Lauren – Drums
Thom – Bass/Vocals
2. Heretical Screams
3. Chaotic Astral Ascension
5. The Adversary
6. Revelations In Alchemy
7. Blasphemous Rebirth
Staked somewhere between the rancid onslaught of Autopsy, a dash of progressive wanderings and even the pitch darkness of Aussie blood curdlers Portal, the primitive death metal battery which Portland trio Shroud Of The Heretic have made their bread and butter strides rather confidently down a filth ridden path which not only delights in its adherence to verminous tempo shifts and a wholly suffocating atmosphere, but a otherworldly scope which acts as a engrossing alternative to the modern ideals of ultra precise, studio polished sheen.
From the snails pace heave and thrust of ‘Illuminism’, ‘Heretical Screams’ ominous ebb and fro and the title tracks strident putrescence, ‘Revelations In Alchemy’ is steadfastly bidden to an old school , early Incantation-esque density, married with a rather bracing streak of ethereal meandering and baleful clean breaks. Indeed, it is these side track inclusions which ensure that tracks such as devastatingly heavy closer ‘Blasphemous Rebirth’ avoid one dimensional violence and, as with the entirety of the album, deliver something wonderfully dynamic.
Riffs shift from spin on a dime urgency to rib caving crawl, ushering in an all powerful sense of abandon matched toe for toe by the blast ‘n’ groove of the percussion (check out ‘Chaotic Astral Ascension’ for some particularly vehement performances). It is colossal stuff, and in keeping with the blueprint of extreme music it plumbs the depths of what it is that makes death metal such a forcible and enduring medium.
‘Revelations Of Alchemy’ is a lesson in savage songsmithery and refreshing individuality. The songs bristle with all the instrumental impact we could ask for, yet it is ultimately Shroud Of The Heretic’s ability to step occasionally beyond the turbulence that cements the records status as a triumph. With this, the first full length in the band’s canon, some lofty expectations are set for what is undoubted to be an exciting future.
Review by Tony Bliss