By: Alex Phillips
Label: Lavadome Productions
Available: February 6
Oh, Death Metal. You’ve spread your legs in almost every country, culture, and climate on Earth. All the dudes (a lot of chicks, too) want to get with you in the most obscene way. But as much as you hope to give birth to truly monstrous offspring, you keep spawning one-off disappointments, jabbering mutants that couldn’t frighten a nervous squirrel. They certainly don’t impress jaded metalheads. What happened? Have you still got it? You’re what, maybe 30? 32? Still relatively young. You’ve got infamy in spades. You’re collectively despised by religious zealots, elderly relatives, and authority figures everywhere. Not every hookup can be with Mr. or Ms. Right. But keep trying, because once in a while, your larval back alley afterbirth does grow into something great—not just a twisted, shrieking thing but a truly terrifying, brutality-driven engine of torment and death. Once in a while, Death Metal, from your black and rotten uterus erupts forth a creature like Heaving Earth, an abomination whose DNA bears detectable hints of Morbid Angel, Suffocation, Immolation—the monsters of legend for which you are feared.
On Denouncing the Holy Throne, Czech five-piece Heaving Earth play death metal in a style that recalls Morbid Angel of old in a big way (the band’s name comes from the title of a Morbid Angel song, after all), yet blazes a path in a whole new direction. Denouncing the Holy Throne honors themes of blasphemy, perdition, the most interesting kinds of eternal suffering. These hallmarks of the genre from back in the day aren’t heard much this deep into the 21st century, mainly because so few bands do it right. But Heaving Earth does do it right, with precise, sweeping death metal. It’s as if they want you to feel damned.
The entire album pays homage to afterlife punishment, the hell of Christian reckoning, not only through imagery and thematics but also by the album’s arrangement. Guitar interludes such as “…Into The Sea of Fire” and “…Where The Purified Essence Descends Ablaze” scream lamentations at you or anyone who will listen, as if the demonic torturers—weary of flaying their victims for a fleeting moment—granted false mercies just long enough to make the pain even more exquisite as the next song plunges everyone back into the boiling lake. I exaggerate, certainly, but Heaving Earth pull no punches in their tormented attack. “Nailed To Perpetual Anguish” and “Worms of Rusted Congregation” are like fantastic new forms of torture made musical, to say nothing of “Jesus Died,” the longest and most soul-shattering track in the bunch.
These Czechs know how to woo Death Metal—their diabolic spawn will tear your head off in ways Morbid Angel haven’t done in many years.