Sunday 8 April 2018

Heron - A Low Winter's Sun (Album Review)

Release date: April 13th 2018. Label: Sludgelord Records. Format: CD/DD/Cassette

A Low Winter’s Sun – Tracklisting

1.Of Gods and Goats
2.The Great Attractor
3.A Gnawing Worry
4.Uncomfortable Silence
5.Parallels of a Knife Fight
6.Fire Twin

Jamie: Vocals/Electronics
Ross: Guitar/Vocals
Scott: Guitar
Bina: Drums


Atmospheric Doom/Sludge Metallers Heron debut album A Low Winter's Sun is a haunting experience of heavy sludge metal with elements of Doom Metal and cinematic Post-Metal sounds. The album takes influence from YOB, Neurosis and THOU. So be prepared for different styles of heavy atmospheric doom/sludge metal on the individual songs held on the album.

Opening track - Of Gods And Goats - is a bleak and multi-layered affair that perfectly balances the Death/Doom Metal aspect of the band’s sound with the more uplifting Sludge/Post-metal soundscapes. The vocals from Jamie are bleak and have a distinctive feel of their own. The vocals are a mixture of death and hardcore based growls. They're quite easy to understand. Well I found them very easy to understand despite my advancing years of listening to Hard Rock/Metal.

Heron have a superb ability from changing the whole feel and dynamic of the album by adding simple elements Psychedelic and Post-Rock/Post-Metal to their music. One moment the whole mood of the album can be very bleak and then Heron include a subtle Post-Rock sound that elevates their music to more a more uplifting mood. It's only for a short period of time but it proves that Heron can create uplifting music when the time calls for it.

Second track - The Great Attractor - is the perfect combination of Neurosis angry Post-Metal vibes and THOU doomy/sludge style theatrics. However Heron manage still manage to create their own highly anthemic sound. The intense and fast-paced drumming from Bina is one the albums highlights and they put in an excellent performance on this song. Maybe the song does feel too long a times but Heron still manage to hold your attention throughout the song. The instrumental work is superb and quite intense. Adding vocal samples is a very good touch indeed. As this song becomes more depressing as the song comes to a satisfying conclusion.

Third track - A Gnawing Worry - is more of a brief interlude with Heron opening with a piano driven sound before playing a violent outburst of Sludge/Doom Metal riffs that I didn't expect. As normally these styles of songs just linger on to the end without ever going anywhere. So KUDOS to Heron for surprising me with this song.

The final three songs - Fire Twin, Parallels Of A Knife Fight and Uncomfortable Silence - sees Heron tighten their grip further on the bleak and brutal Doom/Sludge Metal soundscapes. As the band weave psychedelic doom and gloom moments with the harsher Sludge/Post-Metal riffs. The standout track from the entire album has to be Uncomfortable Silence. As it's anything but silent. Heron don't know how to remain silent and the album is a testament to that fact.

The production on this album is constantly engaging and threatening from the start. The whole feel is brutally violent and Heron thrive on the whole sound of the album. A Low Winter's Sun demands time and patience to understand the full bleak message of it all. Heron have created one of the year’s best sounding and most exciting Doom/Sludge Metal albums.

Heron are a band on the rise. Definitely keep an eye on these guys over the next few years. Heron have the potential for greatness.

Words by Steve Howe

A Low Winter's Sun will be available to buy via Sludgelord Records from April 13th 2018.