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Review: The Heretic - Chemistry for the Soul
The Heretic
Chemistry for the Soul

Label: Xtreem Music
Year released: 2004
Duration: 64:53
Tracks: 16
Genre: Black/Death


Review online: September 12, 2004
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers' Rating
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Rated 3/5 (60%) (6 Votes)

The Heretic is described as a symphonic black/death metal band and this is partly correct. There's a few songs here that have this symphonic sound that I had not heard in a while - to the point where it almost sounded like a novelty (I've been stearing clear of that sound since the market was flooded a couple of years ago.) But there's much more to The Heretic in terms of sound. This is both good and bad. The bad is quite heavily represented in this release. It's not that the songs are bad (save for a couple of exceptions.) The problem is that the band has thrown in so many different things on this album that it has reached a point of incoherence. This almost sounds like a compilation CD with several bands on it. You've got your symphonic stuff, some more raw black/death, some stuff that's overly melodic and almost to the point of being gothic, even one middle eastern-influenced song that is not without reminding one of Melechesh. So this is not an album. It is a collection of songs that don't have much to do with each other (well, maybe they do, but I don't have the lyrics and extreme metal is not exactly known for clear vocals.)

To make things a bit worse, the band uses quite a few gimmicks (aka little annoying sound effects) in a few songs that really serve no useful purpose - if anything, they turn a good song into an almost bad one. Loose the gimmicks, guys. While they're at it, they should drop the symphonic stuff, their other material is so much stronger.

The band will reportedly release a new album in 2005. Hopefully it will be (1) more coherent, (2) gimmick-free and (3) use the keyboards less. Despite all the shortcomings on "Chemistry for the Soul", one can still hear quite a bit of talent underneath the useless artifices, and the band should focus on that rather than try to mix in the "trend of the month" sounds in their material (their new logo -not the one shown on this page- even has the little hardcore-ish look that a few bands have been adopting lately... Please!.) That said, while I can't recommend this as an "album", there's a solid 35-40 minutes of good stuff on here even though it sounds all disconnected from the rest. Recommended only as a curiosity...

More about The Heretic...
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