Herratik - _Wrath-Divine_
(Copro Records, 2006)
by: Jeremy Ulrey (6.5 out of 10)
Hard telling what strings were pulled to net Astennu (formerly of Dimmu Borgir) to man the boards for this relative unknown -- they formerly had a pair of LPs out under their former band name, Abortus -- but the sonic palette definitely lends a bit of heft to what are ultimately well-intentioned but essentially retread thrash anthems with overprocessed death metal vocals. The vox, in fact, are marginally effective, but all told the most forgettable aspect of the Herratik experience (most thankfully during moments like the finale of "Above Your Lies", which finds lead howler "Jack" digressing into a nu-metal cadence).

Now that the downside has been dispensed with, a few concessions can be made to Herratik's not-quite-earthshattering proposals. For one, Gooch (must all Copro bands sport monosyllabic uni-monikers?) harbors a pronounced taste for old-school thrash riffs and trad-metal solos, as evinced by epic cuts like "New Gods" and "I Heretic", and he's equally matched by session skinsman Necrodemon (on leave from Mystic Circle). The band are at their most effective when cementing their death influences with the likes of the rousing blast-fest "Forked Tongue" or "Dance on Your Grave" -- the latter of which remains the runaway highlight of _Wrath-Divine_, a blistering mélange of early death rhythms, moody keyboards and mosh pit breakdowns.

But too often the album as a whole gets bogged down in the same mid-paced, lightly galloping thrash rut that betrays a band hamstrung by uninspired songwriting, lifted somewhat above their mediocre station in life by a duo of choice musicians, both of whom seem to be biding time until a better gig comes along (check that: the aforementioned Necrodemon already has another gig). Ten years ago this would have garnered higher marks, but unfortunately, in 2007, the few relative strengths on display with _Wrath-Divine_ (a clean, professional production and decent musicianship) are becoming far too commonplace for anyone in the metal kingdom to coast on. Perceived quality is a subjective phenomenon which rises and falls like the coming of the tide, and with metal on the crest of a veritable tidal wave, Herratik are going to have to struggle a little harder to avoid the undertow.

Contact: http://www.members.optusnet.com.au/abortus2/

(article published 11/2/2007)

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