Jesus, almighty, this is some cavernous death. Shroud of the Heretic is a Portland based death metal act who has yet to see proper representation from a label. I know I mentioned this before but I have been pleasantly surprised at the quality of some unsigned metal. By all intents and purposes, the production and presentation of Revelations In Alchemy, the band’s debut, is to the caliber of some of death metal’s most profiled acts. There is no need for comparisons save for Shroud Of The Heretic being a fantastic plummet into the depths of occult death with an odd choice in color choice for their cover. Greys, blacks, browns? Fuck you, how about white and green?
By the opening atmosphere and riffs of “the Arrival” the band firmly plants themselves as dealers in ultra heavy riffs. By ultra heavy, I mean bludgeoning as there are many points in this record where the instrumentation crawls across an endless landscape of torment only segmented by a heavy bass drum. Though the band relies heavily on intros and outros, these dissonant swarms are one of the most enjoyable implementations of dark noise in recent memory. Shroud Of The Heretic shies away from the maddening chaos of furious death and focuses their attention on low, even tempered calculation. Once acquainted with the sound, you will question how you ever lived without it. This is death metal which doesn’t move rather just stands and points at you with a menacing grin.
Revelations In Alchemy becomes another piece of evidence for the growing death metal renaissance which has been gathering strength for the past 5 years. We may even have passed the time when the idea of throwing back to an old school sound is dated. Bands like Shroud of the Heretic make death metal which is inspired by the bands of yesteryear but is in no way apart of the past. This is music which continues the work of classic death just in a contemporary setting. The band’s confidence in not only riffs and songwriting but the slow burn of terrifying atmosphere builds a solid structure around the record. Revelations In Alchemy is a triumph in heavy music whose album art does not convey the sheer amount of darkness contained inside.