HERETIC - A TIME OF CRISIS

METAL ON METAL RECORDS

 

Metal To Infinity

There is a lot to tell about the history of LA, California based Classic Metal merchants Heretic but don’t worry, I will keep it ‘quite’ short. Formed in 1985 by guitarist Brian Korban – this guy came up with the band name Heretic, actually the title of their first song ever. Remarkable fact to mention is that Heretic’s first singer was Mike ‘Towers’ Torres didn't stay very long in the band (from ’85 up to ’86) – he joined Abattoir on the album “The Only Save Place” afterwards. Back then, the 80s LA Metal scene was huge and it was hard to survive – only the strong survived, and one of them was Heretic!

As a collector of US Metal, I was a fan of the legendary Metal Massacre albums on Brian Slagel’s Metal Blade Records. This series consists of several outstanding albums filled with loads of US Metal bands ready to spread their own style of music. Metal Massacre Volume 7 featured Heretic with the song ‘Impulse’ and that was my first encounter with the band. Hearing these guys playing this fantastic song, I was immediately hooked. As I said before, Mike quit to join Abattoir - and was replaced by Julian Mendez with whom they have recorded the mighty EP “Torture Knows No Boundary” (released in 1986, including the great Samson cover ‘Riding With The Angels’ and other highlights as ‘White Chapel’, 'Blood Will Tell’ and 'Portrait Of Faith’). Next was the full-length effort entitled “Breaking Point” (1988), a US Classic Metal album, actually one of my all time faves! It was Mike Howe (later in Metal Church) who sung on the album – sad but true, Heretic disbanded after the release of this legendary output… after almost 25 years, they’re back with a brand new, killer CD entitled “A Time Of Crisis”, released through Metal On Metal Records.

After so many years of being inactive, you might ask yourself how the nowadays line-up looks like. Well, the good news is that original member, founder and axeman Brian Korban is still in charge and that’s what I call keep your everlasting faith in Metal whatever it takes, no matter the cost! Another pleasant fact to tell is that singer Julian Mendez (from the “Torture Knows No Boundary” EP) rejoined the Heretic ranks – a welcome gift actually. Looking at the today's line-up I also notice that guitar player Glenn Rogers (Hirax, Deliverance, Steel Vengeance, among others) joined forces along with new bassist Angelo Espino (Bitch, Hirax, Reverend, Anger As Art…). No band without a drummer, the one who takes place behind the kit is Ignazio Coppola from a band called 3rd Strike. A bunch of true believers of Metal, ready to strike back after a couple of decades and I’d like to warn you already that “A Time Of Crisis” is one hell of a great album for all those into non-false US Classic Heavy/Power/Thrash Metal music!

This very new Metal On Metal Records release looks, as usual, professional to the bone. A kinda concept album concerning our world in crisis and everything that is going on around us today. Great cover art by Tom Berg, depicting a priest with blood on his hands (use your own imagination please), perfectly designed booklet, including interesting pictures, lyrics and stuff, great job by Simone A. Peruzzi. Forget about the crisis in the world and enjoy this wonderful album instead!

There are 12 songs to enjoy on Heretic’s new album “A Time Of Crisis”, the sound is pretty heavy and there are two elements that dominate – the vocals and the powerplay, semi-thrashing guitar riffs (including awesome solos). What singer Julian Mendez did on the EP “Torture Knows No Boundary” was awesome offering of his way of singing in a unique way – on the new Heretic album he's a quite different singer but I guess that’s normal after 25 years… we are all getting older, right. However Julian is still a very decent frontman to me and his new way of singing reminds me of Patrick Hughes (ex-Mystik), Phil Rind (Sacred Reich) and Mike Munro (Meliah Rage). The guitar works are just great – original member Brian Korban versus new member Glenn Rogers, be aware that a constant battle between both axe wielders is fought to the death!

First kick in the face comes along with the song ‘Tomorrow’s Plague’ and its power-thrashing way of guitar picking in the vein of Exodus from both “Pleasures Of The Flesh” and “Fabulous Disaster” albums. First adorable track to me! More thrashing moves assault the ear with ‘Remains’, a barrel full of explosive energy! 'Betrayed' brings a good feeling Classic Power Metal character reminiscent of early Meliah Rage. ‘For Your Faith’ is one of my personal faves due to great guitar riffing with references to 90s US Speed / Thrash Metal act Mystik. Speed Metal addicts, better watch out for the remake of the legendary 'Heretic' song. I prefer the original version but that’s a matter of personal taste! I hear some kinda Motorhead riffs in ‘Child Of War’ and ‘The End Of The World’ has a lot of power and offers awesome guitar moves.

Heretic’s “A Time Of Crisis” has nothing to do with the nowadays Metal movement, not even close, let that be clear. I guess that the intention of the band must have been to keep its faith in their old school tradition and I can deal with that. Imagine that a band like Heretic appears with a total renewed, modern Metal style – I would not have accepted it! So, all critics describing Heretic’s new album as substandard because of the lacking of so called ‘modern/nowadays touch’ – well, I have to laugh out loud at that. I’m proud to hear these guys still playing their stuff in a classic way. No matter if the guys play Heavy, Power or Thrash Metal… “A Time Of Crisis” is a damn good album to me, so Don’t Turn Your Back on the Heretic!

Watch their homepage at:
www.hereticusa.com . Order your own copy via Metal On Metal Records right HERE. A fantastic album made for fans of Meliah Rage, Mystik, Sacred Reich, Metal Church, Exodus’ second and third album. Hear some tracks at: http://metal-on-metal.com/albums/heretic-a-time-of-crisis-cd/

My Points: 92 / 100
(Review by Stefan)