Hailing from Roma Italy, Black Metallers Heruka released “Turning To Dust“, their sophomore album in September. Their second album in 12 months, it came as something of a surprise due to the 13 year gap between their debut EP “Leggenda” and 2018’s “Deception’s End“. Originally formed as a one man project by Guitarist Adranor (Legion of Darkness, Throne of Molok, ex-Ars Macabra, ex-Sirrush), since 2016 the line up has included bassist Moha, drummer Nemuri Shi (Blood Legion, ex-Ars Macabra, ex-Gravestone, ex-Lectern, ex-Musicphobia, ex-Watchful Eyes) and vocalist Nekrom (ex-Ars Macabra). So that’s a lot of experience and a trio of musicians who have played together in Ars Macabra.
The album’s introduction depicts the screaming masses over an acoustic guitar melody that makes up the main riff of the album title track “Turning To Dust”. Nekrom’s vocals are those of an elder statesmen of Black Metal, unclean and slightly strained giving them a unique charm. After the brighter melodic introduction build that allows for the storytelling side, there is a blissful burst into blast beats and frantic riffs of urgent violence. A spoken word break is merely the conjuring of more demonic plague fury and there is no mistaking the Italian’s quality of craftsmanship. A sea shanty opening riff of calm brings in “Dig Me Out” which proceeds to set the ships sails on fire with drummer Nemuri Shi battering the kit into submission. The symphonic element comes into play midway though the track with some intricate moments amid the swirling dark mood guitar work and there is a sense of playfulness and perhaps even Viking roots on display. The songs on the album are relatively short for a Black Metal release, nothing reaching the four minute mark and as “Near The Worms Far From The Light” begins with some Pink Floyd inspired riffs before the savage blast beat work out and guitar step up its easy to see why. The poetic lyrics and storytelling vocal style lends itself to the shorter format. That familiar pattern of a melodic introduction before hard hitting track gives each tune a calm before the storm, almost like an interlude and works incredibly well.
Adding some synths to the mix and an some Medieval guitar, perhaps even a Psaltery, a musical instrument which was a cross between a harp and a lyre, “Murrain” has a simply beautiful introduction before the head rush comes into play. The song has a wonderful ebb and flow between the Knights and castles vibe and some Evil Forrest dweller demonic vocals. The longest cut on the album at just under four minutes, it benefits from some expansion of the concentric circle riffs with some brilliant builds and little quirks. “Earth’s Core Tumor” on the other hand is straight into the full throttle Black Metal with no compromise as chaotic sounding drum swirls are joined by some eclectic riffs and an off kilter lead lick that has a rustic charm. “Spleen” closes the album with a Helter-skelter of furious riffs and adrenaline fueled rhythms that call for innocent blood to be shed. After all what is blood for, if not for shedding? It wouldn’t be out of place on a Cradle of Filth album. A masterful introduction to Black Metal if you’ve not had the pleasure previously [7/10]
Turning To Dust
Dig Me Out
Near The Worms Far From The Light
Earth’s Core Tumor
Diventando Polvere (Turning to Dust Italian Version)
“Turning To Dust” by Heruka is out now and available over at bandcamp