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Herem : II

You liked ’Pulsa diNura’? Cool, you’ll love Herem’s second offering.

Herem is a female-fronted Sludge Doom band hailing from Finland. They got my attention a few years ago when their debut, ‘Pulsa diNura’, came out. Unfortunately, after some spins, I felt I had squeezed all the juice the album could give and I was left with a rather dull taste in my mouth which made me scarcely go back to it. However, a track on the album, ‘Dawn of the Last Day’, added a special sparkle: it released a vitality and a personal melancholy that gave reason for hope.

The last SubRosa album was a big hit in 2011, they collected raving reviews with their blend of anxious Sludge and marine melancholy; Herem take over and go deeper into the swamplands of Sludge. The group has gained some new momentum and their stride has become more confident, more flexible. They rid their Metal of its more clumsy and cataleptic sides and took some anabolic steroids which erase languor and give energy; the movements are better articulated and smoother, they leave room for long atmospheric digressions, some cool guitar parts, whirling like a butterfly over the long tarred road heated by the sun, before, with its wings burnt by the refractive effect, it falls and dies, a small heap of ash on the incandescent white line.

The band has obviously focused on two main aspects of their music: the voice and the lead guitar. Those two features are more thoroughly worked out - and richer too - than on the first opus; it is a transformation! The voice is a female one and you don’t notice that as it masks itself under prehistoric make-ups: the growl is bearded, malicious and it stinks; on more rare occasions, Valendis Suomalainen embraces her true nature and tries some semi-spoken, semi-sung vocals. While the bass sparingly releases dark chords (for a dramatic effect on ‘Earth’ among others), the lead guitar aims for a disconcerting, glamourous sensuality: the lines are undulating, they carry a hypnotic melancholy, a playful catharsis; you feel a touch of Americana, hints of raw and tragic Blues. The precision is devilish.

This second album is to ‘Pulsa diNura’ what Rome is to the hole where I live: so much more stuff is going on here! Here is a band that has understood everything about good an exciting hooks: there is a constant rhythmic invention, the moods and ever-changing atmospheres are cleverly thought-out, the movements are connected to each other with ease, the balance between vocal and guitar lines is precise. The riffs are a true delight, they constitute the identity of the tracks, subtle and intense alloys between destructive strikes and instances of light instrumentation showcasing atmospheres that are at times dark, delivering quasi-eschatologic visions, at others luminous, full of a hot vibrating sap.

This album comes as a real surprise. Herem offer a rich and tumultuous work; it has a fascinating beauty, stuffed with infectious anthems (‘Dogs of Doom’), powerful and raging. The band manages to modulate its telluric zeal to let the compositions breathe: the articulations are dynamic and full lof suspense, almost brutal in their maniaco-depressive pace, once in the night, once in the sun, once you bleed, once you heal. The production is excellent, very round and organic, it does justice to the care the band put into details. A third full-length will be needed for Herem to confirm their place in the Doom scene. For now, before seeing their coronation, this album is already an essential purchase.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Heavens
2. Earth
3. Dogs of Doom
4. Promise
5. Water
6. Babylon

Duration : Approx. 46 minutes

Visit the Herem bandpage.

Reviewed on 2012-02-07 by Bertrand Marchal
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