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Heiress - Distant Fires review

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Band: Heiress
Album: Distant Fires
Release date: December 2021

01. All Ends
02. Collides
03. Once Was
04. Beyond Devotions
05. Quiet Tension
06. Straying Eye
07. Unsettler
08. Surviving You

Those distant fires are burning brightly.

I’ve covered quite a bit of post-metal for this website, and there’s plenty more that I’ve listened to without reviewing; whilst I’m a complete sucker for the style, there’s definitely a tendency for a lot of it to blend together, even though I find myself strongly digging each record as I’m listening to it. That is somewhat the case with the fourth album from Heiress, which veers very much towards the ‘atmospheric sludge’ end of the post-metal spectrum. The loud parts of this record are firmly rooted in a doomy sludge sound, not too dissimilar to a band like Ortega, and like Ortega, those loud sections are interspersed between quieter atmospheric stretches, in which melodic guitar lines and restrained percussion gradually develop towards emphatic sludge climaxes.

That’s a pretty conventional description of sludgy post-metal, and the interpretation of it heard on Distant Fires is pretty conventional. On the one hand, it’s hard to necessarily find the words to describe it as in-depth as I might like to; I’ve already covered albums such as this in the form of Wren’s Groundswells or even Lesser Glow’s Nullity, and both of those records had additional novelties going for them. On the other hand, I can’t deny that Distant Fires is a very satisfying record to listen to. The weight of the doomy sludge riffs is intense, crushing listeners with the bleak, oppressive atmosphere of the record, whilst the atmospheric sections are captivating and evocative.

There are some specific elements that do stand out as well; a tastefully included guitar solo spices up opener “All Ends” in the midst of the potent chugs and pounding hits the song subjects listeners to otherwise. Additionally, “Once Was” does a nice job of interweaving the doomy sludge and the more melodic, atmospheric progressions almost simultaneously during sections of the track. On top of this, Heiress do have a good grasp on how to implement the louder and softer moments, and the progressions between them, within compact packages; there’s several songs below 5 minutes that feel fully developed.

At the end of the day, however, if you’ve heard albums of this style before, you know what to expect. Distant Fires features some very headbangable riffs and nice atmospheric progressions, without necessarily doing either at a level that is sufficiently new or elite such that the record stands out from its many peers. If you, like me, have an appetite for post-metal that is difficult to satiate, you’ll likely find a lot to enjoy with Distant Fires, but it may not quite have enough to stay with you after it’s over.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 5
Production: 7

Written on 17.12.2021 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments: 2   Visited by: 33 users
18.12.2021 - 11:23
Rating: 7
Au Pays Natal
I recommend the new Hemelbestormer album.

This was just ok for me. Thanks for he review Matt.
18.12.2021 - 13:24
Rating: 8

Written by tea[m]ster on 18.12.2021 at 11:23

new Hemelbestormer album.

Already heard this one, waaaaaay too long and dragged out considering the level of the music IMO

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