They Were None

The Swiss are putting themselves back on the metal map early in 2014 with the likes of Tryptikon, Schammasch, Near Death Condition and Impure Wilhemina and this, the rather impressive debut of progressive sludge/post rock from Herod.

They Were None is above all things heavy as shit.  And while tangibly culling from obvious contemporaries like Neurosis, Isis, The Ocean and Cult of Luna, the thing that jumps out at your right away is how dense and heavy They Were None is. In particular, the the bass of Pierre Carroz which simply dominates the sound ( in a good way) with a vast throbbing heft. Case and point, twice in opening track “The Fall”, (at 3:11 and the final minute or so) where the album just staggers from the speakers with artful monolithic heft.

And while the pace and gait  is very much post rock with builds and heaving climaxes, due to the overwhelming production and sense of groove, I get a bit of a sense of Gojira in the palpable hugeness  and focus of the crumbling, retrained lurches. There are so many huge staggering moments on the album they are hard to all single out but the likes of the aforementioned “The Fall”, 2:10 and 3:00 of “Inner Peace”, 3:45 of “Northern Lights”, 0:50 of “Watch ’em Die”, 2:44 of “No Forgiveness for Vultures” and there’s even a nice polymorphic Meshuggah stutter in “Betraying Satan” to up the complexity a bit and break up the generally patient lope.

And while there are some moments of expected, tense post rock/sludge  and instrumental ambiance and leading in/out filler (i.e “Northern Lights”, “Sad Hill pt1”, “No Forgiveness for Vultures”, “Sad Hill pt 2”), the album is smart and direct with its eleven relatively compact songs (4-6 minutes or so)- no vast, rangy 20 minute numbers here, as they mostly cut right to the chase within a few bars. The vocals are largely a throaty bellow or semi scream/shout but some strange Eddie Vedder-ish croons surface to start “”We Are the Failure” but luckily that’s the only deviation other than some female spoken words to start “No Forgiveness for Vultures”.

With this and Planet Rain’s The Fundamental Principles, Mighty Music has released couple of top notch albums that break the label’s fun but usually predictable (and often very Danish) roster and sound and I look forward to hearing more from Herod.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
May 29th, 2014


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