In April the Greek band Heretic Cult Redeemer will see the release of their third album, Flagellum Universalis, via the label III Damnation. Now featuring a lineup consisting of vocalist/bassist Funus, guitarist/bassist Tempest, guitarist N3, and drummer C. Docre, the band have created a nearly hour-long work that represents a spiritual and philosophical journey, one that explores “the primeval human urge of opposition to law and structure”, in which the band have used themselves “as the means, harbingers, and vessels of Luciferian and Promethean teachings, as expressed through the frenzy, of the touch of Echidna.”
The music is unconventional and often uncomfortable. It operates on multiple planes of experience, as elaborate and strange as it is visceral in its effects. It maintains linkages to second-wave black metal, but inventively spirals off into other directions and dimensions that become head-spinning… and ruinous. It won’t go too far to say that this is avant-garde black metal of a high order, even if that’s a term the band themselves might not use
It’s not music that’s easy to sum up. We’ve struggled to conceive of words sufficient to even a single song, but that song — “Grave Sophia – Breath of Nightside” — is so startling that it compels us to try.
The music on this sixth track from the new album is a relentless shapeshifter that sounds like a hellish sonic nightmare, so thoroughly inhuman that it creates fear at a primal level, and so drenched in a hostile atmosphere of the supernatural that it chills the blood. And yet the song also proves, paradoxically, to be mesmerizing as well as disorienting and intensely disturbing. How does the band pull off that unconventional feat?
For one thing, the vocals sound utterly possessed. The vicious snarls, raw yells, and wild cries seem completely committed to a burning vision. For another thing, the layered, reverb-drenched guitars are tuned to dissonant timbres, ringing like eerie chimes, augmented by wailing tones of lunar mystery and magic. Their sounds are chilling, but they also convulse in seizures of madness conjoined with despair, or swirl in a kind of devilish glee, or swiftly skitter and scamper.
In keeping with the constantly mutating and channel-shifting guitar permutations, the drumming is also in constant flux, creating its own attention-seizing patterns and suddenly shifting speeds, and the gravel-toned bass adds heaviness to the intricate weirdness and wonder of what the guitars are doing as they turn the exotic interdimensional kaleidoscope through feelings that range from the dismal to the ecstatic.
The track is being presented through a sinister (and shapeshifting) video that’s a harrowing match for the music and the lyrical themes, enhancing the song’s diabolical qualities.
III Damnation will release the new album on April 21st, on double-LP, digipack-CD, cassette, and digital formats. For more info, check the links below, and then be sure to listen to the new album’s first single, “Intoxication Divine“. True to its name, it does sound intoxicating, and it’s just as likely to bewilder minds as the track we’ve just premiered.
HERETIC CULT REDEEMER: