“Hierophant” is the debut release by Italian 5-piece Hierophant. The band, consisting of Karl (vocals), Lollo (Guitar), Rob (Guitar), Ben (Drums) and Matt (Bass) formed in late 2009 and quickly recorded their first promo, which has helped them play over 100 gigs to date supporting the likes of Poison The Well, Madball, Gallows, The Dillinger Escape Plan and many more.
The discordant noise that opens the album ‘Hermetic Sermon Pt.1 (Expectation)’, starts with the glorious sound of needle on vinyl. After a feedback and distorted intro, Karl’s vocals come in, along with a slow sludgy riff that bleeds nicely into ‘I Am I, You, Nobody’. This song shows the Hierophant’s ability to throw different influences into the mix, from the urgent start to the slower mid section. ‘As Kalki’, has a similar feel, starting fast before again settling down and ending on a purposely-slow last minute in a style you know will be crushingly heavy live.
‘Mother Tiamat’ is a near 5 minute downtuned sludge track that has a grand, almost orchestral black metal feel in the background and are as comfortable having one main pace in songs as well as mixing it all together. ‘Hermetic Sermon pt.2 (Invocation ov Abraxas) is a mainly instrumental part which has some spoken word towards the end. ‘Lambgoat’, ‘We Know Love’ and ‘Abissus Abissum Invocat’ bring back the hardcore feel but again settle down to a slower pace and all add elements of the EyeHateGod and Darkthrone influences that are prevalent throughout “Hierophant”.
The rolling drums at the start of ‘1000 VVinters’ gives Ben (drums) and Matt (bass) a chance to lead on a track with the rest of the band following. The slow building rhythm and feedback lasts the first minute before the vocals and guitars come in. At 4 and half minutes is another of the albums longer tracks. ‘Hermetic Sermon pt.3 (The Ultimate Realization) like the other two is another mainly instrumental track with sparse vocals that finishes the album.
This is a band that has taken elements from different genres and influences and meld them together well. From the downtuned sludge of ‘Mother Tiamat’ to the hardcore vibe that is apparent in several songs. These are very competent musicians and the hard work and touring they have done has definitely forged a tight unit that can definitely grow with future releases.
10 tracks over 35 minutes are just right for this debut; it shows their talents and never threatens to drag. The mix of different styles works and it is to Hierophant’s credit, the way the songs seamlessly change from one style to another. The three-part ‘Hermetic Sermon’ ties up the album really well and leaves you wanting to hear more, which is always a good way to leave things, especially on a first album. A damn good effort.