*Sigh* Time and again it is fascinating how pre-taken an opinion can be, even though one tries to be as open as possible. Happened once more with American HEROD, who present us with their Lifeforce Records debut “For Whom The Gods Would Destroy“ (no, not their first release, just the first one for this label), because I somehow had expected a very Hardcore-y direction.
From what I could read, that had been the case on the debut “Execution Protocol“ two years ago, but when the new singer Judah Nero (ex PLAIN OF ASHES) joined, they did not only get a fresh breath into the band, but at the same time also more melody. And that does not only come out in the vocals, but also the music. And that surprised me quite a bit.
The opener “We Are Those People“ shows this musical change pretty clearly, as they use Power, Thrash and Heavy Metal influences together with a bit of Metalcore here or there, very melodic (especially in the vocals), here the guys from Buffalo, New York, can live out their faible for the traditional, heavy Metal with quite some groove, just to unpack the Thrash attack on following “Revelations”, especially in the riffing, but also in the rhythm they are galloping through, but also inducing some more melodic vocal lines, very good opening duo.
Also “I Will“ starts out pretty calm and then continues melodic, while here and there the whole thing kicks into gear, while “A New Hope“ brings is some great melodic guitar runs in the style of the good old Eighties, just in the course of the album HEROD somehow run out of steam (despite quite some good passages later on), which is a pity as before they fully convinced by their strong 80s riffing and good melodies and strangely enough lose their appeal, when they go back towards the “old” Metalcore, especially as I don’t really like Judah Nero’s vocals in the more aggressive passages.
What HEROD still lack, part from an overall more level, well, level, is the cohesion within the album, which appears somewhat torn to me, an acoustic song such as “The Finch Against The Fire“ surely is not bad, but somehow does not really fit into the album’s context.
Elsewhere I have read already that for Power/Heavy Metal fans it will be too many hefty passages here, on the other hand the Thrashers won’t find enough Thrash and the Corelers should be disappointed by the melodic parts and I can only second that. The album is good, but not good enough to really convince, let’s see, how they will develop. (Online May 29, 2004)