Jun 212017


(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Seattle-based Heiress.)


Listening to this collection of material – some of it simply rare, some as-yet-unreleased – by Seattle metallites Heiress, is something of a bittersweet experience for me, due to how much it recalls two of my favourite, and now sadly defunct, bands – Himsa and Burst.

The similarity to the former is mostly accounted for by the presence of one John Pettibone – whose voice has lost none of its savage, sandpapery snarl – behind the microphone, but heavier numbers such as “Kodiak” and “Suffocate On Command” also have more elements than just the vocals in common with the dearly-departed Thrash-core quintet.

But the comparison to Burst is also undeniable at times, as the band’s particular brand of atmospheric, Hardcore-tinged Post-Metal is often a dead-ringer for that of the (in)famous Swedes, and songs such as “Restless Aim” – all fluid, hypnotic rhythms and sparkling melodic undercurrents – and the punchy, punky catharsis of “Distant Hold” could almost have been drawn straight from Origo or Lazarus Bird if you’re willing to squint a little. Continue reading »

Feb 082016

Heiress 2016
Heiress and John Pettibone (far right)


John Pettibone has been a fixture in the Seattle music scene for more than two decades. During the early and mid-’90s he was the front man for a pioneering straight-edge hardcore band named Undertow, and later became the vocalist for the fondly remembered and sorely missed Himsa from about 2000 until the band ended in 2008 (several us at this site are huge Himsa fans to this day, and I featured them in one of my Rearview Mirror posts only a week ago).

Since the end of 2008, Pettibone has been the vocalist for Heiress, a band founded by guitarist Wes Reed who have recorded two highly regarded albums — 2013’s Early Frost and 2015’s Of Great Sorrow — and now have a third one coming soon. The new one is named Made Wrong, it was recorded with producer Matt Bayles, and it’s set for release on March 18 by The Mylene Sheath (pre-orders are expected to begin on February 19).

It has become increasingly difficult to sum up Heiress‘ sound in simple genre terms as the sound has evolved, and that’s likely to become even more of a challenge after people hear Made Wrong. It’s dark, heavy as hell, emotionally intense, and intensely memorable, too. I have lots of other thoughts about the music that I’m going to try to sum up later this week. For now I’ll just say it’s an album you won’t want to miss.

I have the good fortune to bring you an interview I conducted by e-mail with John Pettibone last week — and you’ll get some insights about Made Wrong along the way. Continue reading »

Jan 162015

At the bottom of this post you’ll find the premiere of a fantastic new song by Seattle’s Heiress. I wouldn’t blame you one bit if you just skipped to the end and started listening. But whether you do that or plod through the words I feel compelled to write, by all means — listen to the song!

Nowadays, I try to stay on top of new metal, without letting grass grow under my feet. It wasn’t always that way. I moved to Seattle from Texas in 1995. I barely listened to metal back then; grunge was the rage in my new hometown, and I got caught up in that. Himsa didn’t come out with their debut album until four years later, and I still didn’t discover them until years after that. But when I did, it made an enormous impact on me as a fledgling metal fan. I still mourn the passing of that band.

Even though I now try to stay on top of things in a more timely way, I still didn’t completely tumble to Heiress until I saw them perform live last year. I don’t know why it took me so fucking long, especially since Himsa’s ex-vocalist (and a fixture in Seattle’s heavy music scene) John Pettibone fronts Heiress. Continue reading »

Sep 072014


I spent a chunk of yesterday catching up on new music premieres and teasers from last week. I’ve collected four of the best in this post, representing a range of metal styles.


Portland’s genre-bending Atriarch are preparing for the release of their third album, An Unending Pathway, via Relapse Records on October 27. It’s available for pre-order here. Last week one of the new album tracks had its premiere. The title is “Collapse”.

This new song is well-named — it sounds like both a physical and an emotional collapse, the kind from which there won’t be a rebuilding. The rumbling drums and sour guitar melody dominate the song, with the vocal mix of horrific growls and psychedelic wails giving it the air of a ritualistic chant. Before it ends, all hell breaks loose; the drums become spine-shattering, the vocals turn to ghastly shrieks, the bass and guitars become an explosive wall of sound. Doom on… Continue reading »