Review – Heirs: Fowl

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Review – Heirs: Fowl
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Heirs: Fowl
Ambience, Drone
Denovali Records
April 5th, 2011
Release length: 45:10
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For some reaso, given the band name of Heirs and this album title, Fowl, it led plenty of people, myself included, to think that this were some kind of Black Metal band. That is, until the artwork caught the eyes of these individuals, being a man clad in what appears to be some kind of The Ultimate Warrior-like suit and make up, which actually is meerly paint running down the face of the man in the cover. Clearly, that’s not what this is. Instead, and more suitingly, Heirs proves to be a rather competant Ambient/Drone act that brings a sort of high end artistic vibe to their music. The Melbourne-based group stormed onto the scene back in 2009 with their debut, Alchera, which received plenty of rave reviews for the style the band plays, so anticipations were high for fans with the band’s follow-up, Fowl, and in a sense, the band didn’t really drop the ball there.

Considered more of a Post-Metal group, Heirs presents another album of pounding, rhythmic Ambience and Drone-style music for a roughly forty five minute release. Each track on here, with exception to “Tyrant”, are long, and sometimes can be obnoxiously long. While “Dust” had a slow building pounding rhythm set up through Ambience from the guitars, the drum kept a rather slower paced rhythm in the somewhat dark and ice-like (in physicality, not temperative) atmosphere to the material. The song actually seems to bleed into the title track, “Fowl”, and it basically does just carry on with what “Dust” laid out, except the goal itself feels different. Instead of hammering into a heavier, faster section like the near end of “Dust”, “Fowl” kicks in with a similar drum beat that progresses slowly to a faster pace with more power behind the drumming, the music becomes more distorted and much louder as well, and once in a while the song would go off into what feels like random musical seizures or spasms of faster paced material that breaks the general drum rhythm of the track.

This actually seems to be a trend with this release, and one of the reasons this album is somewhat impressive. Heirs takes a simple drum rhythm, and just continously adds onto it, or just completely alters the accompanying music. From “Dust” to “Burrow”, if you’re not paying attention to the track number, and just listening to it, chances are good you won’t even realize that you’re on the next track. The musical direction the band takes this simple rhythmic drum beat is often quite intriguing as well. While “Dust” takes a very simple route with the song, it feels like the music that accompanies the beat picks up with each following track. “Burrow”, for example, has a stronger presence through a more modern Rock sound, and incorporates moments of crashes and times where the drum beat stops to add more to that track’s unique impression of that drum beat. Of course, “Burrow” ends the beat without any hint of it bleeding into another song, though “Tyrant” essentially picks up that drum beat, and just adds a little bit to it with some different music.

“Tyrant” kicks things off with a somewhat different drum beat, and it seems to last through the coming tracks, and the songs themselves do take different paths with the other instruments. “Tyrant” has a heavier vibe to it that does cross more into a Metal state of mind. The distortion on the guitars, however, just doesn’t sound too good and actually makes the song sound a little hollow for the less then three and a half minutes. “Mother”, on the other hand, has more a Space Rock to the song, or the kind of atmosphere one might expect from one of today’s Progressive Metalcore acts like Between the Buried and Me. The more laid back guitars show a strong Progressive element despite which way you look at it, and actually are rather soothing throughout the whole song, causing the track to come off with a very rich atmosphere and solid sound. The track does bleed into “Drain” a bit but that’s mostly thanks to some white noise. “Drain” does carry on the more Progressive vibe of the track, and that drum pattern ends up changed, find the release focusing more on a guitar rhythmic pattern this time, and isn’t quite as laid back, being more a heavier song with some complex and faster paced drumming to compliment the Space Rock atmosphere accompanying the guitars.

In the long run, it’s hard to say anything that specific about it. Many of the songs have fluid transitions between one and another. The only track that feels like it has an actual end is “Burrow”, and the closing to that track is a very abrupt and awkward end by the music just stopping and echoing out briefly with dead silence before “Tyrant” kicks in with a much more hollow sound then everything else on this album. Fowl has plenty of positive things going for it, and the negative elements are few and far between. The production of the release is spot on, and the only major complaint to this release is that “Dust” and “Fowl” really seem to go on for way too long, though “Fowl” does seem to have a reason for taking it’s time due to the slow progression towards a built up and more powerful climax to the song. In the end, it’s a decent Ambient and Drone piece that has a smart idea behind it at times, and I personally would have love to see the band expand on that more then just three song intervals. If you’re a fan of the style, then Fowl by Heirs is well worth checking out., but even those who do enjoy this kind of approach will feel that the group had given the release plenty of potential, but ultimately fumbled the ball.


01. Dust – 8:42
02. Fowl – 9:36
03. Burrow – 4:23
04. Tyrant – 3:23
05. Men – 6:04
06. Mother – 5:49
07. Drain – 6:14
Initial Pressing Score: 7.5/10

Heirs
Heirs

Digital review copy of this release provided by Denovali Records
via Earsplit PR.