I Am Heresy: Thy Will

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I Am Heresy: Thy Will
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I Am Heresy: Thy Will
Black Metal, Hardcore, Post-Hardcore, Punk
Century Media Records
March 4th, 2014
Release length: 41:33
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I Am Heresy formed by Boysetsfire vocalist Nathan Gray in 2011. He also brought in Simon Grey from The Casting Out, and a few other musicians from the area. The band was created to be a darker offering, sometimes considered a mixture Black Metal with Hardcore. Eventually they caught the attention of Century Media Records, who picked the outfit up to issue their debut full-length album Thy Will. With bands like Winds of Plague, Black Anvil, even recently Darkthrone breaking down the misconceptions of the how Black Metal, Hardcore, and even Punk can co-exist, it was only a matter of time before the steps forward would be taken advantage of. Is I Am Heresy the band to do it, or is Nathan’s presence less of an abomination than one might assume?

“Rahabh” introduces the subtle blackened touch and sleeker dark production quality the band will utilize through most of the album well. The Hardcore presence can be felt immediately, taking precedent over everything else to make the aggressive shouting vocals feel right at home, especially during the chorus where a little melody can be found, and even some rasps in the background. This sensation is continued on “Our Father,” though the shifts into any breakdown from the often catchy hooks seem a bit pointless despite fitting the flow of the song due to the drums that bridge the two well enough. The clean singing towards the end was horrendous, but thankfully brief, unlike others on the album. Then there’s “Blasphemy Incarnate,” which is just an infectious slab of Groove filled Hardcore that has a blackened sensation to the main verses, as well as a modern third generation blasting feel right before the very Punk inspired later NWOBHM style guitar solo.

There’s also “Thy Will II (Black Sun Omega),” which kicks off like a mixture of modern Goatwhore and toned down The Black Dahlia Murder. The slower song still holds some Hardcore elements to it, and the chorus again does sound a bit upbeat with clean singing, but really restrains it to maintain a hint of darkness so that it works with the overall album. “Year Zero in the Temple of Fire” ultimately drops much of the Black Metal presence in favor of straight up Hardcore Punk. It ends up incredibly fun and far more refined. The only gripe is the sudden Mathcore influence at the end just being a bit too much.

Sadly the radio friendly lineage of Boysetsfire just had to be included. “March of Black Earth” can only be described as mainstream generic Pop Hardcore garbage fans of that early group are going to wet themselves over. The main verses have some solid Post-Hardcore hooks at work, and the layered shouting works with them. The chorus, however, features more clean singing that isn’t dark and completely out of place. The main verses at least sound a little more mournful, though some washout on the cymbals can be picked up on due to the emptier sound they possess. “As We Break” finds yet another overly mainstream panty-puddle inducing chorus, but the main verses highlight some Danzig inspiration, which can also be felt on “Seven Wolves and the Daughters Of” that again holds the singing back a bit to focus on the darker tones through the melodic hooks and a strong cymbal presence.

While it isn’t a bad release, Thy Will really tries to do too much all at once. I Am Heresy shows a group with plenty of potential, but still needs time to nurture their sound and choose a direction other than all things Black Metal, Hardcore, Punk, and especially Boysetsfire radio fodder that has no place in this group’s music at all. Fans of likes of Mayhem, Emperor, or even the rather similar Black Anvil will surely dismiss this release, but it clearly isn’t designed for them. Instead I Am Heresy takes that general darkness and makes it available to a broader Post-Hardcore audience. If you’re willing to take the bumpy ride, Thy Will has a decent amount of solid performances that you’ll end up coming back to.

01. Rahabh – 3:20
02. Our Father – 3:33
03. March of Black Earth – 4:33
04. Year Zero in the Temple of Fire – 2:25
05. Destruction Anthems – 3:11
06. Thy Will II (Black Sun Omega) – 3:31
07. Blasphemy Incarnate – 3:08
08. As We Break – 3:47
09. Alarm – 2:03
10. Seven Wolves and the Daughters Of – 2:40
11. Devour – 2:29
12. Throw Wide the Gates – 3:03
13. Hinnom (This is the Second Dea – 3:57
Initial Pressing Score: 6.5/10

I Am Heresy

Digital review copy of this release provided by Century Media Records.