Ah Australia, one of the last places I would think of looking for a metal band, let alone a turbo powered extreme metal one. Prior to this reviewing foray into the outback, the only Aussie band of the metallic persuasion that I could name was gnarly black metal bunch Burning Church Forest. Not that I have any right to be surprised – black metal has long been springing up like weeds in the most unusual places.
This week seems to be one of good tidings from Down Under, from a boy band being urinated on by a displeased koala to the more relevant discovery of Mhorgl, who peddle a ferocious brand of black metal, which like the Australian wildlife is rather a little different from anything elsewhere.
“Heresiarch” is the band’s 4th full length album. As well as releasing their own material, the majority of the band members have played in numerous bands before or alongside this current project. This combined wealth of experience is evident in the level of musicianship present on the record; playing melody infused music this fast requires talent, precision and at least another pair of arms each.
Opener ‘Inheriting the Mantle of Power’ pulls no punches and swerves straight into the fast lane, with the band instantly showing themselves to be blast beat powered speed demons. While maintaining melodic and flawless playing throughout, during the first few songs seemed that Mhorgl were hogging the fast lane, determined to sprint the ‘marathon’ of the entire album, risking sacrificing diversity and interest for some break neck speed points and gallons of energy drink. However, as the record progresses interesting nuances and anomalies began to surface.
‘Black Wolf Militia’ bounds ahead in similar style to the previous tracks, no doubt lapping Usain Bolt in its battle charge. The first tempo change of the album cuts in rather unexpectedly, and while the wolves pause to take breath, more chilled heavy metal style riffs ring out before everyone picks themselves up and hurtles on. Barely pausing for a swig of Fosters ‘Ravenous Wargod’ morphs into something a little different, with Thrash influences overlaying the relentless warhorse that gallops on beneath. ‘Seed of Rebellion’ slows right down, no doubt burning considerable amounts of rubber in the process for a highly unexpected acoustic interlude vaguely reminiscent of early medieval themed Satyricon. ‘Fallen’ fires up all cylinders once more and launches a multi-layered assault, with almost neoclassical riffs flashing across the soundscape like lightening.
To play such diverse and intricate music at speeds that could induce motion sickness is certainly a feat to be admired. While at times ”Heresiarch” gives the feeling of being strapped to the windscreen of a veering formula one vehicle, with only the occasional acoustic pit stop to mop your fevered brow Mhorgl certainly take you on an exhilarating and enjoyable journey!