Album Review – HerezA / I Become Death (2017)

This Croatian bulldozer is ready to take the underworld of heavy music by storm with their savage sophomore opus, a vortex of devastation blending the most hazardous attributes of Punk and Death Metal that will crush your skull ruthlessly.

Rating4

hereza_coverForged in the deepest fires of Beli Manastir in July 2014, a town in eastern Croatia close to the border with Hungary, Punk/Death Metal infernal duo HerezA, which by the way is Croatian for “heresy”, has been battling against all odds in a country otherwise barren for their music style, violently carving their name in the entrails of their homeland through their wicked creations. After the release of their debut album Misanthrope in 2015, lead singer Ivan Kovačević and multi-instrumentalist Slobodan Stupar are ready to take the underworld of heavy music by storm with their savage sophomore opus, a vortex of devastation accurately named I Become Death.

Displaying a darkly intimidating artwork by Polish illustrator and graphic designer Maciej Kamuda, I Become Death will utterly shatter your neck and dismantle your braincase in its 30 minutes of vicious extreme music, bringing forward the most hazardous attributes of Death, Thrash and Black Metal, magnifying their impact with the addition of elements from D-Beat Crust, Hardcore and Punk Rock. Everything is played at the speed of light with all instruments breathing fire and hatred, featuring obviously the well-known high-quality melody and cohesiveness of European Metal. Put differently, HerezA sounds like an unstoppable sonic Leopard 2A7, one of Germany’s most successful and powerful battle tanks in history, aiming directly at your head.

The most brutal Blackened Death Metal is blasted by Slobodan in the title-track I Become Death, a monstrous business card presented by the Croatian duo where Ivan gives life to the destroyer of worlds with his infernal growls through the song’s bestial lyrics (“I come in form of devastating waves / Penetrating radiation filling up the graves / Where I go, I bring the hellish fire / A burning inferno my only desire”). And there’s no time for your head to stop buzzing, as another fantastic sick devastation in the form of music named Jebem Vas U Usta Ladna (or “fucking your cold mouth” from Croatian) comes crushing mercilessly, with Slobodan exhaling anger and aggressiveness through his Death Metal beats and flammable riffs while Ivan keeps growling like a maniac; followed by Homo Homini Lupus Est (“man is a wolf” from Latin), not only an amazing portrait of their fusion of Punk and Death Metal with a strong D-Beat Crust vibe, but also an underground hymn for slamming into the mosh pit.

Get ready to be pulverized like an insignificant insect by this demented duo in the frantic Uništi, Pali, Ruši (Croatian for “destroy, burn, tear it down”), the best tune of the album in my opinion where cutting guitar lines and wicked Black and Death Metal beats make the music sound as if Cannibal Corpse went The Exploited. And again drinking from the fountain of D-Beat Crust and mixing it with elements from Black Metal, Ivan continues to fire his beastly growls in In The Name of God, a song spiced up by its anti-religious lyrics (“They’ve build their biggest temples / To worship their false saints / Covered with diamonds dressed in gold / A hunger for money never getting old”), whereas in the brutish Full Moon Slaughter the duo viciously puts the pedal to the metal, with Slobodan delivering tons of melody through his riffs, but obviously always sounding insanely heavy, leaning towards old school Scandinavian Melodic Death Metal.

hereza_bandNeplodna Jama, or “barren dich”, is perhaps the song with the highest amount of old school Punk Rock and contemporary Punk Metal elements, with the guttural vocals by Ivan being the song’s Death Metal ingredient, feeling like this time it’s The Exploited going Cannibal Corpse. Torn from the Death’s Bed, the slowest composition of all, presents solid guitar lines and beats by Slobodan in sync with the gnarls by Ivan (albeit not as kick-ass as the rest of the album), while in Pošast (“vermin”) the band gets back to their electrified amalgamation of Punk Rock and Death Metal, inspiring you to ferociously smash some skulls into the pit. And Tombcrawler, the high-octane deathblow in I Become Death, begins in a somber way before bursting into sheer brutality, keeping the rampage going on in full force until the song’s sinister neck-breaking ending.

In case you’re thinking “HerezA are awesome, but how am I going to see them live if they’re only two guys?”, let me tell you there’s nothing to worry about, as the duo is joined on stage by their henchmen Bojan Babic on guitar, Milan Prodanovic on bass and Leonardo Markovic on drums, which means their apocalyptic music is materialized quite often at metal pubs and venues in Croatia for the total delight of headbangers all over Europe eager for a sonic bloodbath. And even if you’re not planning a trip to Croatia anytime soon, you can still follow Ivan and Slobodan at their official Facebook page, and purchase I Become Death at the Godz ov War Productions’ BandCamp page. After listening to the extreme compositions by this Croatian bulldozer, your metallic senses will never be the same again.

Best moments of the album: Jebem Vas U Usta Ladna, Uništi, Pali, Ruši and Full Moon Slaughter.

Worst moments of the album: Torn from the Death’s Bed.

Released in 2017 Godz ov War Productions

Track listing
1. I Become Death 4:15
2. Jebem Vas U Usta Ladna 2:30
3. Homo Homini Lupus Est 3:05
4. Uništi, Pali, Ruši 2:20
5. In The Name of God 1:25
6. Full Moon Slaughter 3:35
7. Neplodna Jama 1:55
8. Torn from the Death’s Bed 2:16
9. Pošast 3:33
10. Tombcrawler 4:14

Band members
Ivan Kovačević – vocals
Slobodan Stupar – all instruments, backing vocals

Guest musician
Denis Sloboda – guitar solo on “In the Name of God” and “Pošast”

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