Release year: 2020
There’s that type of black metal sound which is tricky to write about. Not because it defies description or is something so unique there’s no reference for it. Quite contrary to the latter, in fact: the basis of that sounds is so rooted in tried and tested formulas that it’s quite familiar, yet there’s more to it than just liberally lifting elements from earlier purveyors of the genre.
Polish Hegeroth are a prime example on their third album. Their fierce and aggressive yet melodious black metal feels instantly familiar, and for sure, you can name some references, but at the same time it can’t be reduced to mere pastiche or copying. One is tempted to just namedrop, but realizes it wouldn’t do the Poles’ sound justice.
So, that said, let’s drop some names, shall we?
In a nutshell, Hegeroth’s sound is a mixture of a lot of 90’s and early noughties European black metal. More than once one is reminded of Belphegor sans the death metal in how Hegeroth can blast fiercely whilst retaining a very melodic sensibility in the music. Certainly, there’s also a certain kinship to the stereotype Swedish sound of the late 90’s and early noughties… you know, Marduk and Dark Funeral and Setherial and Allegiance and what have you. But not content with just that, they throw in some choice cuts of Norwegian influence. You can’t convince me I’m not hearing some Burzum in Raise Your Voice, especially that opening riff.
I guess that ultimately, what you should take from the above paragraph is that Hegeroth’s sound is ripe with influences, and most from a particular era of black metal. However, combining it with a clear, modern production with sufficient amounts of punch and a cold, inhuman atmosphere, I find myself oddly reminded of Satyricon‘s (at the time) cutting edge modern Rebel Extravaganza. I really don’t know why, because when picking Perfidia apart, I don’t find much that’d justify that association. But there it is. The end result is instantly familiar, but has a twist that’s Hegeroth’s own.
The bottom line of the above is… well, it’s what I said in the introduction. Hegeroth have that hard-to-describe sound for which it is so easy to drop references, but they don’t describe the sound in its entirety. Yet you’re loath to say it’s a very original sound.
Oh well, at least we can take confidence in that original or not, Perfidia is a pretty good album. It’s not album of the year material or a future cornerstone of the genre, but it’s got solid songs, solid performances by all musicians, good sound and is an all around competent piece of black metal.
And, ultimately, that’s what matters most, isn’t it?