Hierophant – Mass Grave (Season of Mist)

Friday, 18th November 2016
Rating: 8/10

This scribe has been reviewing albums for quite some time, so there are the occasional games to play while prepping a review, like this one: How long can a band go without introducing anything that resembles a melody? Now, this is probably due to the fact yours truly is a sucker for melodic metal in all shapes and sizes, so imposing such a test on an Italian blackened sludge band may not be fair. But with Hierophant and their fourth full-length Mass Grave (and first for Season of Mist), it simply doesn’t matter.

Because Mass Grave was recorded at the same place Nails did You Will Never Be One of Us, there’s probably a tendency to associate the two bands. Sure, Hierophant employs largely the same heads-down, f-off sonic barrage that Nails does, but there’s a little more flexibility and tightness here. There’s suitable rage and nihilism coming out of “Execution of Mankind” and devastating doom on “Mass Grave” (is that an ‘almost melody’ at the beginning?) “Sentenced to Death.” Dare we say catchy rhythms heap upon “Forever Crucified,” while punishing blasting highlights “Hierophant,” a short, savage number.

Outside of the noise-laden “Eternal Void” (wisely placed at the end of the running order), Mass Grave is a lean barrage that shows no light, no hope, and no mercy. It’s a negative take on a world that eschews any sort of tricks and tactics and lays bare its intent. Get this or get out of the way.

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