Herxheim – Incised Arrival

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label: Nuclear War Now! Productions
Released: 2020
Buy Album: Incised Arrival | Nuclear War Now! Productions
Band Websites: Bandcamp | Official

Band line-up:

Brungard – everything


1. Wanton of Idols
2. Lesson Crescent
3. Branded by Pentagram
4. Chateaux Delirium
5. Eve’s Rampike
6. Warrior Master Lore


Under solo project Herxheim (founded in 2017), multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Brungard has followed up last year’s demo Cultivating The Throne Of Fur with debut album Incised Arrival.

Incised Arrival unravels further into a heavier and more concise form of its near-relative. In this 37-minute display of gut-punching raw power, wicked melodies slither in and out of slow-to-mid-paced and faster compositions where nothing is forced or superfluous. The sound of the album is quite natural, but wild: one foot rooted circa ’86-’93, the other hammers chest right to the present. The guitars scream and scratch machine-like, while Brungard (ex-Howls of Ebb) offers a treacherous, powerful vocal performance … Lyrically, Brungard explains, “This album thematically follows the demo. It centers around the human condition; each song is a ‘Mephistic Fable,’ tales of warning and wrath.” The prowess and vigor of these six songs deliver the message well: this is indeed Mephistic Black Doom Metal for the wretched soul.”

Some of the lyrics in ‘Wanton Of Idols’ are echoed (mainly the title) to an eerie effect. Bolstered by a rumbling rhythm section, grinding guitar-work and spooky synths, this is a great opener and definitely one of the vocal strong points on the album.

’Lesson Crescent’, much like its predecessor, hosts some chorus lyrics that are repeated which draws emphasis on those particular words. The drumming feels very ritualistic here at times, which adds to its sinister vibe.

Carrying on from the atmospheric ending of track two, ‘Branded By Pentagram’ greets the listener with some more creepy noises. The production sounds slightly less lo-fi than the rest of the tracks which makes it feel a little more refined and stand out among the rest. There are some great instrumental sections which rival Brungard’s vocals, the catchy guitar melodies and soaring keys countering his growls successfully.

Some of the lines from ‘Chateaux Delirium’ are delivered in the same manner as an incantation, the ringing guitar and soaring key-work amplifying this. The intermittent slow spoken word parts and fast pacing laced with female screams seems to illustrate the act of conjuring and violent acts being carried out.

‘Eve’s Rampike’, the shortest song, is dominated by the vox and long guitar riffs. It is very stripped back compared to the other five, the throbbing bass not unlike a slow heartbeat.

Despite all the twists and turns present in finale ‘Warrior Master Lore,’ it still manages to be the grooviest offering on Incised Arrival. All the best moments from earlier on in the record are reincorporated in a unique way here. The melody replays (especially the bass versions towards the end) are an excellent touch and along with the closing words make this an epic closer.

Albeit a brief full-length, Incised Arrival is all killer and no filler, making every second count. A crude yet clever blend of black, death and doom metal.

Review by Kira Levine