Music by VICE

Heretoir's Melancholy Atmospheric Black Metal Offers Solace in Troubled Times

Stream the German black metal/shoegaze/post-rock hybrid's new album, 'The Circle' (out March 24 via Northern Silence)

by Kim Kelly
Mar 16 2017, 3:45pm

I've written before about the necessity of beautiful music in times of strife and darkness, and have a feeling that I'll be doing a lot more of it in the coming years. Music has always helped keep me centered and sane throughout the absolute worst moments of my life, and I'm sure it's done the same for you. While what I usually consider "beautiful" may well sound like awful noise to less leathery ears, the album I'm sharing with you today is objectively lovely, and as things around us in the States continue to crumble—to somehow, improbably, become worse—I've personally found a good deal of solace in the work of bands like Hereroir.

Founder David "Eklatanz" C. would probably agree—he describes the project's newest album, The Circle, as "a nostalgic, melancholic and soothing soundtrack in a mad world," and he's certainly not exaggerating on any front. Originally formed in 2006 as a solo endeavor (Eklatanz is also a member of  Agrypnie, and has played live with Germ), the past few years have seen Heretoir add several new faces to the fold, marking The Circle as the first recording to feature a full band. Comparisons to certain other atmospheric black metal shoegaze aficionados are inevitable (especially given that Les Discrets' Fursy Teyssier created the album art, and Alcest's Stéphane "Neige" Paut contributed guest vocals) but Heretoir leans more towards the depressive post-rock realm than their French pals. On The Circle, the band elects to emphasize the band's black metal roots only sparingly, choosing to focus on creating an overall dreamy, almost pastoral atmosphere and winsome harmonies whose sprightly charm belie the album's overwhelming melancholia. Harsh, echoing howls and strident drumbeats offer depth and balance, but The Circle is far more summer rain than winter storm.

"I think that the mixture of many different genres and elements on The Circle, like its highly progressive structures, audible black metal roots, the ethereal and atmospheric sounds and the variation in speed between mid-tempo, high speed, and doom really are what drives the album," Eklatanz tells Noisey. "I think that we've managed to give it a very own character—for us, the songs on The Circle are the best we've written so far."

He's not wrong there, either (and the fact that the band is publicly anti-fascist is just icing on the cake). Listen to The Circle below—it's out 3/24 via Northern Silence, with preorders available now.

Kim Kelly is dreaming on Twitter.

black metal
northern silence
les discrets
atmospheric black metal