Hæresiarchs of Dis/Ophidian Forest
Darkest Origins

Darkest Origins is a Split release between two primitive, raw black metal bands- California’s one man act Hæresiarchs of Dis, who has three full length albums under their belt, the last two being on Moribund Records, and the international (US, Croatia and the Netherlands) act Ophidian Forest who have 2 self released albums to their name. Darkest Origins is a remaster of early, unreleased material from both acts and for a split it is great value as you 3 three lengthy Ophidian Forest track clocking in at almost half an hour and then 9 Hæresiarchs of Dis songs that make this a 73 minute descent into primal, filthy black metal.

Remastered by label owner Chad Kelly (Excommunicated, Catholicon) , both bands sound suitably grimy and buzz with a nasty tone and fuzzed out bass- the only down side to the remaster, as good it sounds, is that both bands have pretty identical guitar tones as a result, even if the overall sounds , especially the bass are different, but I’m sure that that’s better than what they originally sounded like.

Ophidian Forest‘s 3 longer tracks are up first and they present an slightly more doomy and depressive take on black metal with a few flourishes of experimentation and atmospherics  by way of some chants, a few haunting keys and some more drone-y ambient segments. It’s a very varied and serpentine journey that has a lot of German/French flair to it, with odd ball time changes and discordant malevolence lurking around every corner, just go to the last of their tracks, “Verschwiegenheit” for a glimpse into the eclectic nastiness. Its a much more disturbing  and neurotic take on black metal that creates a unique mood and off kilter atmosphere.

Hæresiarchs of Dis is the brain child of one Cernnunos, and his approach, even on this early material is more in line with Moribund records, as well you’d expect. His 9 tracks are more in line with traditional Norwegian black metal from the early 90s with a few moments of one man despondency here and there. I Like what Kelly did with the remaster here, as the there’s a nice twangy bass presence even if the vocals are a bit too Donald Duck-y for me. The songs are much more riff based with some traditional,  impressive and blustery black metal such as “Chaos Plague”, “Manifestation” , standout  “The Devil’s Whoremonger” and the stern march of ‘Tangible Hatred”. I’m not hugely familiar with the artist’s Moribund catalog, but it appears the depressive atmospheric one man black metal elements appear to flesh themselves out later on compared to this early material. There are a few piano tinkles and warbling atmospherics (i.e  “Densest Green”, “Heritage of the Night”, “Blood and Souls”), but even on the last three, longer tracks the focus is still rollicking black metal riffs and very little despondency.

In all a pretty cool release considering the large content, and I hope Ophidian Forest get snatched up by a label like Ahdistuksen Aihio Productions (Saturnian Mist, Ava Maria) as they seem to fit that labels collective, while I might have to check out some of Hæresiarchs of Dis‘s other releases as decently produced,  riff driven black metal is just what the doctor ordered for this time of year.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
December 29th, 2012


  1. Commented by: Guilliame

    I havent bought any Hiersarch of whatever the fuck because it gets lousy reviews.

    Is it really any fucking good?
    Please, do i even need this cunt in my collection?

  2. Commented by: Guilliame

    Everytime i read a review of this Hersarchy of Bis, it sounds like shit.

    Everything is explained like some derivative 90s Black, depressive, regressive, oh who gives a fuck!

  3. Commented by: E. Thomas

    its decent value as its basically 2 albums and he isn’t as suicidal or depressive on this stuff, but its certainly not a must buy

  4. Commented by: gabaghoul

    I have his 2nd album – Denuntiatus Cinis – and it sounds like In the Nightside Eclipse with chunkier guitars and bass. That’s an interesting variation, but the songwriting is haphazard. Plus half the album is ambient Leviathanesque interludes. so no I’d say it’s far from mandatory, at least not until the compositions improve.

  5. Commented by: Steve

    I have a copy of this and it’s not too bad. It’s not goundbreaking bm but it’s allright if you don’t expect Dimmu or CoF production standards. Some reviewers dropped references to Burzum, Emperor and such, but if you expect these bands to sound like them, you’ll be disappointed.
    Those Ophidian Forest tracks are pretty creepy though (despite being a bit on the long side).

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