Heron – Time Immemorial (2020) – Review

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Sometimes things happen for a reason. And with Time Immemorial of Heron, the time just wasn’t ripe yet for a review. So, the record sat patiently in the back corner of the review pipe, as its name kinda implies. The ears of the RMR crew over here were probably a tad too strained with Extreme Metal and its screamy extravagances. You get that sensory overload at times and things won’t compute anymore.

But what can I say? Metalheads will be metalheads and we will return to this particular well until our necks are sore from headbanging. So, back we were scouring the murky depths of the Sludge Metal universe. And here, the Canadians from Heron surely carved themselves a niche to shine in.

Time Immemorial hit me like some less extreme version of Waingro with some of the more melodic parts from the likes of Grim Ravine mingled in. Even if the screams get pretty near to the former dudes as well. And that is not necessarily a good thing.

Yet, you can safely state that this band navigates out there at the rusty edge of Sludge Metal, a bit like Yanomamö, only that the latter pump up the volume even further. A downright frugal style of filthy sludge that sometimes navigates a tad too near to those realms Punk Rock often occupies. Yet, we did enjoy this whiff of grunge that sometimes wafted out of our boomboxes.

And where others chose lush drumming patterns to sustain their sludge, Time Immemorial contains quite the opposite. A somewhat barebone string of crystal clear, even thoughtful themes that go well with that bleak style Heron project.

And that said it, didn’t it?

It’s not only the drums, but this whole record is so lean, you kinda wonder what’s left on those bones to really push things forward. This is some mean piece of downturned Sludge Metal. One that contains that seemingly inherent portion of proto doom that I didn’t quite expect here. In short, it’s a chunk of alloy that will try to hurt your eardrums with its cranky beat and overheated groove. Yet, contrary to other contenders in this genre, the rough rasps, shrieks, and screams fit right into this bleak soundscape of theirs.

And this creates that unholy pull to continue with your listening session. To get more of that rusty metal delight that we don’t find quite that often anymore.

Long in the Tooth already swings off that darkened cliff with gusto after a slow-motion intro of sorts. A true downturned riff that takes its time until Jamie Stilborn chimes in with his high-octane rasps and scratchy screams. Boy, you’ll even get a taste of faux-progressives somewhere after midpoint.

So, you see, Heron prepared rich pickings. And perhaps a bit too rich for some. Time Immemorial gorges with so many elements, it’s almost overwhelming. I could probably do a small review for every track on that short blurb. Or, in other words, the complexity of its arrangements may quickly swamp the casual listener. Which in turn will make them just skim over a record that would definitely be worthy of attention.

And now this. Whilst we love Entombed’s totally rough track Wolverine Blues of 1993, we kind of wondered why it would appear on an already strained tracklist of only some 37 minutes of airplay. The cover kinda sits athwart this string of pretty specific offerings. So much so that it made the crew here scratch their mutual heads.

But at the end of the day, Time Immemorial is a good record for the sludge connoisseur. Those with a taste for the rougher edges of that very specific universe. A record of dreary topics, rolling towards ye in a rough, truly intense, and often gruff and scratchy flow of molten sludge1). With proto-doom woven into its fabric and stoner-esque flavoring scattered about, this record gives you the full monty of what sludge is all about.

Yet, I do fear for the mainstream fan2). This is complex fare and it may not necessarily be to the taste of a larger audience. But then, Heron might not necessarily look for those. Be this as it may, though, I do still detect potential for refinement. For a future album that is sure to come our way.

*****

Record Rating: 6/10 | LabelSludgelord Records | Web: Facebook
Album Release: 15 May 2020

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