Sound — 8
Melancholic, atmospheric. Two words I would use to describe Heretoir's second, self-titled album. The first time I listened to this it didn't hit me as much as other albums such as '.neon' by 'Lantlos', and so I went and listened to something else. Then I returned to this album. It began to grow on me. I left it alone and listened to something else. I returned to it once more and I was hooked. The drums and guitars flowing together to create an atmosphere rich with sound, various other little sounds blending and enriching it further, the airy, loud vocals echoing in the middle of the music perfectly complimenting the instruments. This is shoegaze at its best, atmospheric black metal at its best. Sit back and reflect. This music is emotionally devastating. It really is a "soundtrack for discovering ones deepest thoughts". The music is composed so beautifully, every song seems to be treated with care. And every song has its own unique charm. It's a grower. It may not hit you too powerfully the first listen, but when you're in the right frame of mind, this is the type of music you can get lost into. Hopelessly lost.
Lyrics — 9
'The Escape, Part 1' - An atmospheric introduction to the album. Is quite short in comparison with the other songs on the album but is a decent opener. The piano line is a highlight - cold. 'Fatigue' - The Vocals are tormented here, and the lyrics fit in rather well with the sound. 'Retreat to Hibernate' - My personal favourite. Is one of the four instrumentals in the album, and by far the best. The harmonics give me goosebumps every time. Absolutely fantastic. Nostalgic and reflective. '0' - A somewhat strange song, if you can really call it a song. It serves its purpose as continuing the flow of melancholy and mood of the album, the person in the background talking about revenge, i figure. 'Weltschmerz' - I don't know about the lyrics in this one, since they are all in German. Eklatanz seems to feel rather strongly about whatever he's shouting about. The tortured, depressed vocals sit high above the loud drums, blasting away in the background. 'Graue Bauten' - One of the best songs on the album. So many wonderful passages just seem to flow increasingly well as the sound progresses. Eklatanz does a great job here in making sure his vocals fit the atmosphere created by the sorrowful noise of the guitars, and the sometimes slow and sentimental drums. 'The Escape - Part II' - Different to the first part, but keeps the same atmosphere, and only serves to blend one song onto the other. Still very good as an interlude. 'To Follow the Sun' - A female singer is used here. Her quiet, clean vocals turn into loud, cries for help. Haunting. 'Heretoir' - This is the only song which reaches the 10 minute mark, and what a song it is. This song literally takes the sound created in every other song on the album, and infuses it together to draw the album to a close. The vocals are still tormented, the drums are still reflectively pounding, and the various hums of a male chorus which are heard throughout the album make a return here. After a brief silence, comes one of the most beautiful passages in the album, if not the most beautiful on the album. It has to be heard. It closes the album perfectly.
Overall Impression — 9
Although I believe that Lantlos's Self-titled and .neon albums are filled with so much detail and beauty- and are, in my opinion, the best albums in the genre (excluding of course, Alcest's Ecailles De Lune), this album has the ability to make me rethink that. It really is wonderfully executed and created with probably just as much care as the former albums. If you are a fan of all these various Post-Rock/Black Metal/Shoegaze bands like Lantlos, Alcest, Soliness, or even Austere and Woods of Desolation, then this album will be your next favourite. This album isn't perfect and does feel weak in places but the atmosphere and vocals employed by Eklatanz beautifully complement each other. Essential.