Black Metal that sings trve to my ears. The Hierophant is a series of tales told by knife sharp blastbeats and harsh intervals that instills a good sense of cold and foreboding while keeping that black energy that frankly, flows through all things. I began listening to this Polish unit’s album expecting Behemothesque riffing and heaviness. I was surprised however by the Norwegian sound that confronted me. This band is going for a Watain style of sound and through their effective usage of reverbed tremolo guitar tone and dark sounding snare they succeeded by all accounts.

Production wise, it sounds like it was recorded in a dark cavern, which, for me, is akin to God existing in sound wave form. The vocals are a bit distant, but help break away from the typical trve black metal sound that some people find distasteful. The drums and bass are fitted in tightly with the guitars (in the sound field) and may be a bit quiet for those who want a really shining rhythm section in their sound. It is clear that the band wanted a ‘darker’ sound and compromised a bit on the higher end. For me, it is a suitable sacrifice to achieve that end, and despite the clear focus on a certain range of sound, the cymbals are allowed to ring above the mix and meld with the guitars resulting in what I think is a cold and bitter sound through the length of the album.

Albumwise, the songs are well composed and the guitar riffing keeps the atmosphere flowing while the vocals punctuate points and express almost indiscernible frustration. For a Polish band, their lyrics and English are good and deal with the occult. Highlights of the album, I’d say, are the title track, which commences with an intro that prepares one for the sound of the rest of the album, and a track entitled I am Thy Plague which does an excellent job of mixing up the different types of riffs resplendent through the rest of the album and keeping the energy flowing.

The Hierophant only further cements Eastern Europe’s reign in black metal by melding Norwegian influences with Eastern European song structure and tightness. If you enjoy Watain and other “trve” bands, I would say give this a listen and enjoy.