Music needn’t always be accessible and short entertainment pieces that engage the listener for a few minutes. Sometimes music can deliver a much deeper experience. When it comes to the realm of metal, bands like Inquisition, Dodheimsgard etc. are known to create music that leaves the listener in a deep meditative state. While Shroud of the Heretic doesn’t sound like the aforementioned bands, the music they create tends to have similar effects. The band’s second full length ‘Unorthodox Equilibrium’ sees the band continue in the direction they set on with their debut. The atmosphere heavy death metal sound seems to be amplified this time, with a sound that is much more suffocating and songs that are relatively longer.
Consisting of only 4 tracks, ‘Unorthodox Equilibrium’ is a record that slowly infiltrates the minds of the listener with it’s riffs. The title track begins with marching beats and the chaos slowly unfolds. The thick atmosphere, which is a mainstay throughout the record, creates an aura of mysticism. The slow pace of the music and the way the riffs are written, seems to be with an intention of drilling the music into the listener’s head. This idea works as the riffs and the atmosphere combine to create a Shamanistic effect.
The minimal use of clean strings to create simple and short melodic lines like at the start of ‘Metempsychosis’ adds a new dynamic and variety to the music. The vocal work tends to blend with the atmosphere and it sounds like the deep tones emanating from a monster residing at the bottom of a deep dark ravine. The cavernous sound combined with the rhythm in the music create strong occult vibes in the music.
Shroud of the Heretic are no strangers to writing long songs. However, on this record the songs are much longer compared to their debut outing. The way the music alternates from chaotic bursts to calmer sections is enough to keep one engaged. While each track by itself is enjoyable, I feel that the album as a whole could have been a bit shorter. There is a slight blackened feel to the album, mainly due to the raw production work and constricting atmosphere. Despite the thick tone of the record, the riffs and guitar work are quite audible.
Needless to say, this may not be for the casual listener. ‘Unorthodox Equilibrium’ is an immersive experience that affects more than just the ears of the listener. Shroud of the Heretic is a band that you must check out if music to you means much more than a few minutes of entertainment.