It’s been five years since Hetroertzen released a breath of cryptic stench onto the black metal scene, and in those five years the result has finally surfaced in the form of “Phosphorus Vol I.” Being quite a fan of the album “Exaltation of Wisdom” I am very familiar with the sound and atmosphere and there is certainly no lack of atmosphere here. Clocking in at 54 minutes long, we are taken on a journey through occult laden movements smothered in Luciferian energy and magick with a more driven and straight forward approach compared to past offerings.
The biggest difference that grasped my attention was the decision for Frater D to no longer take up the vocal mantle, instead passing it off to recent newcomer Anubis. While Anubis is no stranger to handling the vocals in Hetroertzen (his death drenched whispers appear on 2017’s Uprising of the Fallen), my last experience with Hetroertzen was the previously mentioned 2010 album where both vocals and drums were performed by Frater D. While this album is not without its atmospheric touch, it certainly feels like it was written with a more keep it simple direction and much more of the attention was placed upon a riff-driven songwriting style as opposed to the more traditional black metal approach of relying heavily on atmosphere to make the necessary statement intended, which I certainly do not see as a bad thing. Sometimes atmosphere is the ingredient, sometimes its the fundamental foundation of rock ‘n roll.
The first taste we were given came as the single “I am Sickness I am Death.” While there are a few songs that stand strong and hold their own against the opening single, I definitely feel it is one of the strongest track on the record. “Absorbtion of the Current II” however may be my personal favorite due to it’s strong structural composition, the powerful vocal performance and the dissonant kissed guitar solo in the middle of a doom heavy section which precedes one of the heavier headbanging moments this album has to offer.
Black metal since the mid 2000s has become a copy cat genre where whatever is popular becomes the flavor of the week. We’ve seen trends come and go where every band went from sounding like Darkthrone to Dimmu Borgir to Watain to today’s flavor being Mgła, and with that being said, it is a very refreshing relief to see that during this five year absence, Hetroertzen did not cater to today’s popular sound and stayed true to what makes their sound unique and stands on its own in a sea of followers.
Overall, while I still feel that “Exaltation of Wisdom” is the shining light of Hetrortzen’s discography, “Phosphorus Vol I” is a very solid addition to the archives of a very excellent black metal band.
Listenable Records (2022)