It’s been almost six years since Heretoir graced us with their presence, with 2017’s The Circle being one of the most poignant post-black metal records I have ever listened to. Memories aside, I have felt that black metal is no longer my genre du jour, and the more time I spend away from it, the more I feel disconnected to it. However, Heretoir brings me back to the genre’s embrace with their newest EP, Wastelands.
Wastelands is split into two parts: three new songs that were written as an EP, perhaps to showcase where the band is at creatively and whatever new direction they wish to go, and three live songs all taken from The Circle. First track “Anima” loudly blasts itself into existence, melodies swept by blast beats and syncopated guitar playing. This song announces their return, saying that, despite their silence, they have been working behind the scenes. Of the three new tracks, this song is the most energetic and frenetic, and the emotionality in the vocals makes you want to sing along. After getting past the halfway point, “Anima” slows down, becoming more melodic, steering your attention towards the upcoming post-metal that will permeate the rest of the EP.
Cue “At Dusk,” where the music becomes more post-like, in that the atmosphere slows and the music becomes layered. Gone are the blast beats and the frenetic guitar – all of that has been replaced by sweeping female vocals, a soft guitar tone, and a hazy sound that aims to calm you. It almost feels like a tonal shift, giving you something light before letting the (musical) pin drop. All of these elements come together on “Wastelands,” a track that marries black metal’s darker tones and post-metal’s heavy layering and atmosphere. To make sure that those elements tie together, the band adds more clean vocals, taking cues from the previous track. This also gives “Wastelands” a more hopeful tone, despite its heavy nature and black metal sensibilities.
Now, let’s talk about the second half of the EP, the three live songs from The Circle. If anything, these songs remind me that post-black metal is alive and kicking, but perhaps the return of some heavyweights might be the thing that brings them back to the forefront. It’s also a time capsule of sorts – it reminds me of another time, where I was heavily involved in seeing what new black metal was out so I could listen and enjoy it. Considering that the band has never played live, it’s nice to have these three tracks as an idea of what could potentially happen in a live setting. Heretoir also gave these songs new life, as it means we can now experience why The Circle was so good to begin with.
Wastelands, if nothing else, is an EP that showcases where the band currently is and what potential direction they could go for a future full-length. These three tracks give us a taste of what’s to come, and I can’t help but say that I wish we had more songs. Despite this, I am pleased that the band has continued, and I look forward to more post-black metal in my immediate future.
Wastelands will be available May 19 on AOP Records. For more information on Heretoir, visit their Facebook page.