New Zealand is often credited as one of the best places to go to seek out the gnarliest death metal available. Particularly, the trio of Diocletian, Witchrist, and Heresiarch have been giving me exactly the kind of churning blackened death metal that I hold so very dear. Though Heresiarch’s output has been less prolific than their counterparts, their discography embodies the ethos of quality over quantity. Now, however, the band breaks silence with their latest and best offering ever, Death Ordinance.
Their first offering since 2014’s Waelwulf 7″ (which has gotten regular play from me since its release) and the band’s first full length release, Death Ordinance is nine tracks of militaristic blackened death metal. Whether roaring along at breakneck pace on “Storming Upon Knaves” or trudging through mire on “The Yoke” the band never loses the militaristic undertone that gives their music its singular aspect. Many other bands attempt to inject warlike qualities into their music, but few bands if any make music that sounds as much like marching orders like Heresiarch.
Now, in addition to this conviction of sound, the band expands its palate by incorporating an overarching story that binds the tracks on Death Ordinance together. Telling the story of a world utterly laid to waste by three decades of global war and the survivors who struggle for the last remaining resources, Death Ordinance feels like a death metal version of a Mad Max movie, complete with visuals of barren landscapes and tanks decked out in spikes. The inclusion of this added layer of depth puts Heresiarch a step above similar acts.
Death Ordinance is a complete package of an album. From devastating sounds, engaging lore, and intense visuals courtesy of Misanthropic-Arts, Heresiarch have climbed to the top of the war metal hill and firmly declared themselves king. Woe to all who would dare challenge them.