Italy’s Hierophant waste no time when it comes to following up their albums with further madness. 2013 saw the release of their second album, Great Mother: Holy Monster, with 2010 debuting their self-titled onslaught. With barely a year and a half gone by, Hierophant end 2014 with their third LP, Peste, which translated from Italian means “plague,” an apt title considering the ailing, though welcome, effects this record will have. This album is pissed from open to close, with zero gimmicks or atmospherics for fluff and padding, these ten tracks were not made for the faint of heart.
Opening track, “Inganno,” takes its first breath as if it were a roar, continuing its daily routine through blast-beaten roads and reverb-bedecked halls of emptiness, where its sounds flails from surface to surface. The album is no gentler on “Masochismo,” which is possessed by a grim-version of hardcore camaraderie, like two fledgling demons headbanging in tandem. “Nostalgia” is an instant mosh-inducer, conjuring a circle pit as if it were a maelstrom, which teeters on a fluid cycle constantly threatened by sporadic, battering rains. The tempo pauses for some brief, albeit no less heavy, respite on fourth track “Sadismo,” which hammers itself down with sluggish, earth-cracking punches before escalating into the body-breaking “Apatia,” which is carried by its wailing guitars and snarling wrath. “Paranoia” is a two-headed beast that spews forth crust and death from its dual-gaping maw, ending its rampage only to veer off to seek further prey on “Sottomissione,” a track endowed with black metal’s coldness. “Alienazione” sounds like it could be Nails b-side, with its fury and flesh-rending speed bringing to mind that band’s second album, Abandon All Life. Hierophant’s own twisted brew of hardcore-edged powerviolence find its place alongside Nails, rather than under, with Peste’s own form of expedient, direct heaviness, as evidenced on the album’s final track, “Inferno.” Whereas the preceding nine tracks were noted for their vicious speed, “Inferno” characterizes itself with its less hasty approach, with its calculated malevolence seeping through the speakers, its repeating war drums drowning in a molten bath of noise by its closure.
While its entry comes just at the right moment for year-end lists to see their completion, it is recommended that those fond of blisteringly furious hardcore take a moment to enjoy Hierophant’s latest offering, which while keeping to their tried-and-true formula, also demonstrates a band easing comfortably into their barbed and wired throne. Peste is now available from Bridge Nine.