Heresiarch – Death Ordinance (2017)

Review by Linus Douglas.

Heresiarch is the only band to have made so-called ‘war metal’ into something that was not just head bashing and blood splattering nonsense.

Even Blasphemy wasn’t that good to begin with, anyway. Don’t mention that to the fans or they’ll throw a hissy fit, though. Heck, even calling Kaeck ‘war metal’ is a misnomer, but the description completely fits Heresiarch even though war metal is not even a proper genre in itself but only a particular way of approaching underground metal. What distinguishes it from the harsh ‘war’ black metal of a band like Antaeus is something deeper than the riffing technique itself, and this is the key to understanding why war metal is not a genre and that the real distinction lies, once again, between death and black metal as ways of thinking.

Heresiarch have grown and allowed the roots of death metal within that ‘war metal’ expression that was so extreme and monolithic on Hammer of Intransigence to expand into a more expressive whole that, if seen through the boxing mentality of the attention-impaired, may be described as including doom metal influences. To some extent these additions feel a little unnecessary when we are simply considering the musical purity under the microscope of Death Metal Underground’s idiosyncratic analysis. But when we consider Death Ordinance with the mentality of a tradition that is alive, and so we ask it to be connected to a feeling of being alive and spreading a vision and a complex set of sensations even if through monolithic expression, we can afford Heresiarch a leniency that allows us as an audience to absorb those “extra” bits of slight out-genre lapses into the experience of the record.

Death Ordinance may not appear to be as relevant as the previous offering from 2011 if we only consider its innovative aspects, but as a death metal record it stands to the test of its own times. While not as ravaging, and thus convincing to Hessians, as Sammath‘s Godless Arrogance from back in 2014, Heresiarch brings the best death metal of its time when considered as an communicative experience that is not simply random riffing pasted together by sheer in-genre limitation (like Teitanblood), boring conventionality (like Dead Congregation), gimmicky childishness (like Garroted) or meaningless poser shit that apes image and style (like Averse Sefira). Anyway, even if Death Ordinance is forgotten within a year or two, it is still worth considering among the heaps of garbage whose names are already being thrown around as some of the most decent in recent years.

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38 thoughts on “Heresiarch – Death Ordinance (2017)”

  1. Brainer Rascalslut says:

    The intro is a pointless several-minute exercise in someone fucking with their ‘demon warlords’ with percussion instruments and distorted guitars that does not really please me. War fucked up western tastes and we won’t go back to a redeaming figure like Hitler because Nazis sind in Deutschland schlecht und verboten. After this, we have an attempt at being Incantation while maintaining that such primitive stuff is far below the band’s war metal —my intellect is offended. After this has run its course, there’s a whole album dominated by guitar and bass circling running around each other while showcasing all kinds of effects considered fashionable in the 2010s. This is terminated by the first element of this which is sort of ponderous, some backgrounded screams playing a scary tune.

    The world conflict of today is the conflict of the individual against the state, the same conflict that has been fought throughout mankind’s history. The names change, but the essence—and the results—remain the same, whether it is the individual against feudalism, or against absolute monarchy, or against communism or fascism or Nazism or socialism or the welfare state.
    —Ayn Rand, “Conservativism: An Obituary” (CUI, Chapter 19)

    But – alas – things can’t stay that simple for long. The bastards start playing slightly ‘doomy’ interludes and the guitar has to make some noises again to show that it’s still there despite the fact that it’s very loud throughout the whole album. The scary melody comes back, this time killed by an ascension to unprecedented heights in the background. Around the 13th minute of the 3rd hour, we get a straight rip-off from better late 80s/ early 90s bands with tiddly little additions to remind us that This Is Trve Stuff™.

    The second part of this reminds of an old death metal motto (paraphrase): “I’ll be the first to admit that I have no experience with relationships. But it just seems logical…a man and woman have to be somewhat equal…as in, one of them can’t always be swooping in and saving the other one. They have to save each other equally.” This is a romantic death exercise in achieving the same effect without really getting me turned on.

    Deutsche Autisten der Welt vereinigen sich! Wir waren nicht von minderwertigen russischen und mongolischen Vergewaltigungsbegriffen für nichts geboren! Lassen Sie uns all diese Menschen zeigen, wie unsere industriellen Köpfe von unseren besten SS-Männern profitiert wurden, die von den Horden des Ostens ausgelöscht wurden und unsere Frauen für 5 aufeinanderfolgende Jahre unter dem wachsamen Auge der mitfühlenden Amerikaner vergewaltigt wurden! Sie wussten, was gut für unser Volk war. NIE VERGESSEN!

    I have to abort this here because I need to get on a conference call with other very important guys such as myself. Very poor article about some very atrocious piece of music that makes me scared and unsafe about my long hair and lack of “girl-friends” or whatever you wanna call those unnecessary companions these days.

    Some scary, and very catchy, stuff (that’s probably actually music):

    “Wir werden unser Ziel erreichen, wenn wir die Macht haben, zu lachen, während wir vernichten, wie wir zerschlagen, was uns als Tradition heilig war, als Bildung und als menschliche Zuneigung.”
    —Joseph “Liebenswerter Teddybär” Goebbels

    1. Saul says:


    2. Svmmoned says:

      I always liked those renditions (in that particular order):

    3. Rainer Weikusat says:

      For someone who’s that obsessed with (nothing but) other people, you’re remarkable incapable of learning anything about them.

      1. you're gay says:


      2. Strainer Weidensbutt says:

        I’m not whitty, so use this amusing perversion of our dear friend’s Rainer name. Good sportman’s ship, buddy!

        1. Rainer Weikusat says:

          The people who originally came up with this creative idea where a bunch of 2nd graders in 1980.

    4. Mattel Marauder says:

      Holy shit, this post is a masterwork

    5. Neconomeconomist says:

      Brainier: I’ve been seeing what you’ve been doing… and it’s awesome. HAHAHAAAA

  2. Thwaters says:

    Please describe the music, thank-you.

  3. Psychic Psych Toad says:

    These new reviews read like boring posturing.

    It’s like a Facebook fight of middle school girls “aping and posing” on Brett’s wall.

  4. you're gay says:

    i’m beginning to think I’m the only one who ever actually enjoyed Averse Sefira

    1. Thwaters says:

      Nah, Averse Sefira is awesome. All this counter signalimg is designed to boost tbese kids ego’s, it helps them feel like they are sooo elite.

      1. Trashchunk says:

        This site was most certainly all about them for a long time. I think over time as people got turned on their recommendations they had to up the contrarian ray up a notch because of some deeply inherent need to be different. I certainly no longer get any recommendations or opinions of any worth, those days are over, now this site is occasionally funny. I don’t read any other shit metal sites but I also know how to find shit on my own now.

        1. you're gay says:

          they were. it seemed like DMU forgot about them for awhile and now I see nothing but “they were always all aestheics and no content”.

          as far as recommendations go, Sammath, Desecresy and Ripper are all relatively recent ones from this site that I’ve enjoyed immensely.

          1. Lance Viggianno says:

            I don’t see much point in treating prozaks canon as sacred. There’s an amusing strain in the comments here where people will decry supposed prozak shilling then get upset when writers look at prozak approved records from their own perspective and experience. If all you guys want is to read nothing but prozak then shout it in the comments until it either happens or the site gets shut down. I’d suggest shutting the fuck up about differences in judgment over music between writers contributing here and just enjoying the ride.

            1. Thewaters says:

              Prozaks canon should certainly not be held up as an idol, but the fact remains that he is a great writer with what appears to be greater insight into the workings of metal. Ive been reading his reviews for nearly 17 years now, and alot of the stuff he reviews has stood the test of time, including Averse Sefira. The probablem with the anti Averse Sefira sentiment is that it appears forced, and doesn’t actually include much an assessment of the actual music. People are allowed to disagree about what is good metal, and I have no problem with tearing down some of the idols as long as the assessment is at least an attempt at accuracy. If that makes me a schill for Prozak, so be it. I am off to read old disgruntled bastard now…

              1. Thewaters says:

                I am not saying your personal review was forced, just the subsequent sentiment that followed. I found your review okay, and it wad food for thought. Fundamentally, I read your review to say that there was no emotional continuity in the songs because it was too rationally put together. I simply disagree. Correct me if I am wrong, but you are supposing that emotional continuity is lacking based on your own emotional experience of the album? I suggest that that is not a marker for determining whether continuitu exists, that can be determined objectively by looking at the phrases themselves and the internal logic thay drives the relationship between each phrase and motif.

                1. Lance Viggianno says:

                  I don’t recall writing that emotionally continuity was the problem. I tried to say that they focused more on the abstract (the general idea of metal) and the structure of the music (very well ordered, logical). The result was simply that the riffs suffered in the usual way that abstract art does, they failed to evoke any strong concrete sensations. Of course whether or not the riffs are effective is up to listener as responses will vary. But that’s not going to stop me, as an amateur critic and writer from explaining myself and from making a wider observation.

                  ANUS being what it is, it’s all to tempting to couch criticism and judgments in very harsh rhetoric. People should take that far less seriously than they do and just enjoy it.

            2. you're gay says:

              i was pointing out a pattern that I had noticed and was wondering if anyone else really enjoyed the band. thanks, though.


          DMU tried to “appeal to a wider audience” a while back if anyone actually bothered to notice. Trying to reassess some old “sacred” bands (from Texas) is actually a turn for the better.

          1. Thewaters says:

            Good point

      1. thewaters says:

        Brett, are responding to my saying that the internal logic of a phrase or motif can determine whether or not subsequent motifs are linked?

        1. thewaters says:

          Sorry, I worded that incorrectly. It should have read, are you disagreeing with the idea that continuity between phrases can be determined by looking at the internal logical that drives the relationship between disparate sections of a track?

        2. I was hoping to respond to this, but may have screwed it up:

          i’m beginning to think I’m the only one who ever actually enjoyed Averse Sefira


            gb2 writing mediocre advice and half-baked solutions to mediocre readers.

  5. war metal is fake says:

    The Dark Descent tag means it’s awful.

  6. neutronhammer says:

    Diocletian does it better

  7. Here'smyarse says:

    Turns out these ‘fresh’ underpants weren’t actually that fresh after all

  8. Renga Kunfug says:

    The only hissy fits I see being thrown are by people that don’t like Blasphemy and want to keep asserting that, though in stating this I probably just threw a hissy fit

    1. Renga Kunfug says:

      You can see me waiting outside the first sentence with my Metallica shirt on

      1. Renga Kunfug says:

        You’ve also probably seen my ass in court, awaiting sentencing for petty war metal crimes

  9. Seth says:

    I’m glad I took the chance to reappraise this band since seeing them live. The sound at the Twilight Room in Portland made them sound like a methed-out Hellhammer frantically banging out half-remembered songs on used electric banjos run through boss pedals. I laughed so hard I had to leave the venue. Didn’t help either that J.B. broke 3 strings in one go. I think I’ll just stick to the recordings from now on.

    1. Yuzerneigm says:

      Must’ve been the recoil from his Howitzer wrist. Or maybe just jacked up on a bit of the local meth. Got all excited and tried too hard.

    2. Mormon MethDream says:

      Portland, Ontario?

    3. Bellum says:

      I think you have your bands confused. Ritual Necromancy guitarist snapped his strings at this show.

      1. Erekt says:

        Its all fun and sodomy until someone starts snapping necks.

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