Did you like what you just read? Odds are, you’ll like Heron. Maybe like is the wrong word. These Vancouverites pedal the kind of doom metal that doesn’t just envelop, it crushes you, slowly, like going under the foot of some huge giant. It’s grim, too, not in any way like the warm fuzz of a band like Sleep. Heron don’t sound like they smoke weed. They sound like they swallow razor blades and wash them down with vinegar. This is truly horrific stuff.
Now, in the context of doom metal, some old-fashioned abyssal howling is never a bad thing. But the sounds coming out of Jamie and Ross’ throats are some of the most genuinely disturbing vocals I’ve ever heard. It’s like you slowed down Converge and put them on a soundtrack from hell. If Heron have any commercial aspirations, they’re going about it the wrong way.
Somehow though, I doubt that was ever the plan. Records like A Low Winter Sun are essential underground listening. They’d translate well into a live setting, where the full weight of the chords can appropriately smother you. It’s varied too, with most tracks including at least some moments of undistorted riffs. After barrelling through a song like “Of Goats and Gods,” the opening of “The Great Attractor” is a welcome respite. Same for “Uncomfortable Silence,” ironically the most listenable song on the album… at least until that evil screeching kicks back in. Seriously, that stuff sounds like a dinosaur drowning in a tar pit.
“Parallels In A Knife Fight” wins Best Track Name and Best Track, period. It’s a nice curveball after the brutality of the album’ earlier tracks and points to new directions the band could go. It’s a stark contrast, this song, with its major keys and almost psychedelic vibe, which makes the midpoint drop into juggernaut chugging all the more effective. Heron are on the verge of releasing something on the level of Yob’s Clearing The Path To Ascend. If they can just get the mix of psychedelic to heavy right, they’ll see big things coming their way.
I recommend listening to this record in a B.C. forest on a misty day. Shouldn’t be too hard to find one…
Written by Max Morin
*edited by Kate Erickson