Herratik – ‘Compromise Gone’ Album Review

Kicking off with the regal, symphonic ‘intro’, Herratik do a good job of lulling you into a sense of false security that is dispatched the instant the buzzsaw riff for ‘Enough’ rips the atmosphere to shreds and replaces it with an aura of feral violence. Billed as a thrash/death metal act, Herratik are closer to the death end of the spectrum with evil, scything riffs, growled vocals and hyper-speed drums, but what raises the bar is the skill of lead guitarist Gooch Traijkovski whose lead runs are fluid and deceptively classic rock in style. This is certainly true of ‘enough’, a brutal song that briefly regains its humanity for the solo before returning to its previously blistering form.

Blistering, of course, is something of a watchword here and when the bile-choked ‘bottom feeder’ is unleashed it is with a venom that is seemingly endless in supply. A pounding, vicious, circle-pit conjuring 3 minutes of vitriol, this is the real deal – the sort of high-end, none-more-brutal metal that Slayer so effectively tapped into on their masterpiece ‘Reign in Blood’ and, like that album, Herretik’s pleasantries are all done and dusted in 31 minutes (ok, so marginally longer than ‘reign in blood’ but then the intro does add two minutes to the run time). Ideas rise and fall as quickly as the drums hammer out their relentless tattoo and before you know it you’re up against the sub-three minute ‘end of compromise’ which throws in multi-faceted vocals and the sort of grinding, chugging chorus guaranteed to have the band’s fans in neck braces by the time they hit thirty. The benefit here is that nothing ever stays around long enough to become dull – great riffs are dispatched, never to be recalled and blistering solos lend a human element to the otherwise mechanistic assault, but there is no self-indulgence here – just great metal, helpfully imbued with a killer production job that makes t gleam in the half-light.

Taking a moment to slow the pace, the haunting ‘closed book… opened wrist’ throws in atmospheric keyboards, a spoken word vocal and creepy guitar line before the whole thing suddenly bursts into violent life some one minute in. It’s up there with ‘dead skin mask’ in the realms of creepy thrash and the pay-off is a searing attack on the senses that sees the band attempt to outdo the early, vicious tracks on the record, not to mention another of Gooch’s great leads. ‘Talk so much… say nothing’ is more or less the polar opposite which halves the run-time and delves into a vicious, LOG-style groove although even this cannot compete with the unhinged malevolence of ‘filth in numbers’ which barely scrapes two minutes and raises serious doubts as to the sanity of the band who clearly have a secret passion for messy hardcore as well as thrash and death metal.

It’s hard to believe but such is the blistering speed of the album that we are already approaching the end with no sign of let-up in sight. ‘Good things come to those who hate’ is a vicious stomp destined to become a mosh-pit classic. It’s the sort of percussive assault that one would imagine to be the result of a mash-up between vintage Metallica and Lamb of god… with perhaps a touch of Cannibal Corpse thrown in for good measure. It’s brutal, nakedly aggressive stuff but it’s played with real fire and fury and there’s no question that the members of Herratik are possessed of a deep and all-encompassing love of metal that screams out of every blistering track, not least via Jack White’s unerringly excellent vocal assault. ‘The fall’ is, if anything, the most breathless track on the album, as if the band have realised the album is drawing to a close and therefore need to raise the bar still further before crashing finally into ‘the zone’ for one last furious blast of intense, violent thrash-infused death metal.

On their fourth album now, Herratik have clearly hit upon a winning formula. There is no moderating factor to the vicious assault unveiled here, with every track proving to be a full-on attack upon the senses. Credit is due to all the musicians, not least session drummer Alex Koch who turns in an unbelievably tight performance, but it really has to be Gooch who is nominated as the star of this particular show thanks to his exquisite solos ripping across the surface of the tracks. There is no fat here – this is a lean beast of an album dedicated to cause maximum devastation and then bug out – and fans of extreme metal will find much to love amongst this memorable and violent set of songs. ‘Compromise gone’ is a rip-roaring success and one of which the band should be rightly proud – check it out, you won’t regret it.

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