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Dark Heresy: Abstract Principles Taken to their Logical Extremes

Growing up, I used to wonder what would happen if one of my favorite bands decided to mix things up on stage. I’m not talking about some extended guitar or drum solo; I’m talking about doing something so outrageous and so unexpected that you would question everything you knew about that band. No matter how much I imagined something like that, I could never have come up with a band like Dark Heresy.

This album, Dark Heresy’s one and only release, originally appeared in the mid-1990s. I’m not sure how widely it circulated, but I do know that it quickly became more talked about than heard. Sure, you could find some stuff online, but the quality wasn’t all that good. Fortunately, this album is now getting the restore and remaster treatment and will certainly be something die-hard fans of extreme metal will want to hear.

So what sets Dark Heresy apart from other bands? For starters, the band opens one of their tracks (“Hole”) with straight up jazz. I’m talking piano, horn (probably synthesized), and foot-tapping drums. It’s all very mellow and cool until things explode into heavy riffs and raspy vocals. If you thought this was just a classic soft then loud routine, you’ll quickly realize these guys don’t play that way. You see, the jazz piano keeps going, not for the whole track, but for a long enough time to make you wonder why. And that’s not all. The same track brings in clean vocals and acoustic guitars in unexpected places. When I first listened to “Holes,” I thought it was awful. Now that I’ve listened to it several times, I like it better. It’s oddly catchy.

“Holes” is probably the most unexpected track, but it’s not the only one with surprises. “Tyler’s Stand,” probably my favorite track, opens with a killer acoustic guitar and then shifts into a blend of death metal and organ before settling, momentarily, into something more familiar�"until it shifts again into some extended guitar leads and then speeds up into a thrash routine. Even though this song closes the album, it might be a good introduction to Dark Heresy.

It’s possible that Dark Heresy no longer has the power to shock listeners. In the time since this album appeared, dozens of other bands have messed with our minds by blending various sounds and styles. And yet, it’s worth hearing what these guys were up to, if only to imagine what things could have been like had they really taken off. If you’re looking for something surprising and eclectic, give this one a spin.

Track Listing:
1. Engines of Torture
2. The Last Temptation of Pan
3. The Ceremony
4. Thy Blood
5. Ofermod
6. Hole
7. The Millstone
8. Tyler’s Stand

Added: July 18th 2019
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Bandcamp Page
Hits: 697
Language: english

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