At first glance, the American Southwest doesn’t seem like a source of inspiration for black and death metal, but anonymous quartet Heretical Sect have found plenty of darkness looming below the surface and romanticized history of old-time cowboys. Inspired to craft a remembrance to those killed or oppressed by religious persecution, slavery, genocide, disease and the quest for American expansion, Heretical Sect’s debut album, Rapturous Flesh Consumed, is an epic and moving piece of black/death metal.
There’s nowhere better to start than the beginning, which is why Decibel has a stream of album opener “Rising Light of Lunacy.” Heretical Sect waste no time on ambience or fade ins; instead, they charge forward with lurching death metal, contrasting bludgeoning riffs with haunted melodies and a powerful vocal performance. Both dense and layered in the vein of Immolation or Our Place of Worship is Silence, Heretical Sect’s opening salvo is a powerful one, musically and artistically.
“Our landscape evokes sweeping metal genres with soaring, snow-covered mountaintops abruptly ending in the barren expanse of desert,” explains drummer/vocalist Death Warg of the song’s composition. “Black metal’s allegiance to the land has largely ignored the historical context of the Southwest. We hope to expand the palate away from Nordic themes and create a greater connection to place. And yet genres remain mostly uninteresting except in describing the different types of energies that convene in one space. These songs were performed live and that pushing, explosive performance is far more important than precision. The music is a primitive blast with the band always on the edge of chaos.”
Continuing, he tells Decibel that the lyrics on “Rising Light of Lunacy” are about religion taken to its extreme.
“This song represents the gateway into a mind riddled with religious madness; conflating mortification and dismemberment with cleansing and redemption. It is an exploration of the shadows that lurk at the edge of vision and the voices that echo through our thoughts. Personal demons touching the cosmic, a dictator born. Our twisted dogmatic worldviews allow atrocity on a whim. A priest adorned in holy certainty, frolicking at the edge of fire light. Deep arroyos awash in white sand bones, humans lost or returning. We consider our music to be inspired by our home and it’s complicated past. The high desert is a meeting of worlds. Life can be seen through the gradient of elevations and ecosystems. And through generational conflict for existence, too often ending in extinction.”
Rapturous Flesh Consumed is out December 11 on Gilead Media, but you can hail the “Rising Light of Lunacy” right now.