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From Hell: Heresy

There are several ways to listen to this album. One way is simple—check out the songs, enjoy them (or not) and listen to it a few times. If you really like it, put it on a regular playlist and enjoy it over and again.

The other way, less simple but often just as enjoyable, is to think about the various layers that inform the music. I won't comment on everything going on here, but I think this album deserves a certain amount of explanation. Simply put, this is an album about serial murder and other attendant themes. The band's name—as fans of graphic novels will know—comes from a letter written by Jack the Ripper. But this music isn't exactly about the infamous Ripper. The band also includes audio excerpts from interviews with Richard Kuklinski—a mafia hit man known as The Iceman. It is simultaneously chilling and interesting to hear those audio clips and they certainly add interesting new dimensions to the music.

There's more: The band also used audio of the controversial poet Charles Bukowski for most of track 5. In addition, the individual band members also mixed a tube of their own blood with the ink used on the album covers. I was less interested in that point, especially since I remember when Angelia Jolie wore a vial of blood around her neck. I know the two things aren't the same, but it's a weird move all the same. The point, however, is that there's a lot going on here besides the creation of music. To me, this album could possibly be described as a combination of performance art, extreme metal, and social commentary.

Ultimately, I'm not sure what it all adds up to. Most of the tracks are very heavy and aggressive blackened metal. It isn't bad, but I have to admit that this band is much more interesting when they create the uncanny and somewhat frightening material found on tracks 1 and 5. Given that those were the most interesting tracks, this album takes on an interesting dimension. Why are so many people drawn to serial killers and macabre and disturbing imagery?

This band obviously has a lot they want to say, but I'm not sure that the music conveys as much of their insights as it should. I'm going to keep an eye on these guys, though, to see where they take things in the future. Fans of the most blackened metal will certainly enjoy this album, but fans of music as obsessed with serial killers as they are will probably enjoy the way The Iceman's chilling voice plays out here as well. As a broadly dark and gloomy reflection on human evil, this is a very interesting album. Musically, though, it's mostly good extreme metal mixed with some intriguing and provocative interludes.

Track Listing:
1. Nemesis of Neglect
2. Terror
3. No Place Like Hell
4. Unholy
5. Crucifix in a Deathhand
6. Holy War
7. Empty and Hollow

Added: August 16th 2013
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Bandcamp Page
Hits: 1509
Language: english

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