Heidenreich - _A Death Gate Cycle_
(Napalm Records, 1997)
by: Steve Hoeltzel (7.5 out of 10)
I once had a bunch of teeth pulled by a dentist named Heidenreich. Clearly this is some kind of sign... Heidenreich, the band, is a two-man project: Peter K. from Abigor and Thurisaz from Amestigon team up to create a somewhat experimental variant of black metal, featuring creepy samples, fuzzed-out guitars, some brutal programmed beats, occasional clean vocals, odd vocal layering, and so on. In some ways, this reminds me of the latest CD from Nastrond, but with the fiercer and more emotive tone of Abigor's mighty _Orkblut -- The Retaliation_. If you ask me, though, _A Death Gate Cycle_ is not as good as the best Abigor stuff. It's a 27-minute MCD which gets stronger and stranger as it progresses, although it's weighed down a bit by a pair of keyboard instrumentals which don't really go anywhere. Also, the clean vocals occasionally misfire. They're well-conceived, but as with so many other metal-affiliated projects, their delivery is a bit on the shaky side. (I've heard much worse, though.) The sampling is very effective: selective and skillfully employed, with zero repetition and none of the overdone triteness of the sci-fi-thriller and "true crime" samples so prevalent elsewhere. There's some good, odd use of guitars, too, as in my favorite "The Goat Shrine" and the final track "Memories of a Descending Moon". All in all, I think this is pretty cool -- nothing truly groundbreaking, but harsh and interesting enough to stand out a bit. Still, I can't quite bring myself to give this an eight... One more thing: I now think that Thurisaz's band Amestigon (RIP?) is cooler than my original review (CoC #13) gave them credit for. They're nothing original, but for some reason I've been finding their icy, unpretentious approach to black metal especially enjoyable of late.

(article published 1/1/1998)


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