Track Premiere: The Heretics Fork Will Leave You “Diminished Unto Lunacy”
Do you remember the first time you heard death metal? No, not melodeath like Arch Enemy, but real, honest-to-goodness heavy-ass death metal? Do you remember that feeling of corporeal weight, as though a blunt instrument had been smashed against your neck, crumbling you into a pile of ruin as your world collapsed into an exquisite waltz of agony and ecstasy? Do you remember that feeling of sickness and paranoia as you explained with some excitement to your indie friends that you were getting into some really extreme stuff, as though you were indulging in the forbidden, hedonistic pleasure of a college snuff film? As though you were suddenly witness to the visceral spectacle of actual torture, and boy howdy were you there for it? Bring back that old loving, grisly feeling with today’s meat-slab-slam of a brutal death premiere, courtesy of the profane perverts in The Heretics Fork.
If regular ol’ death metal like Morbid Angel gave you and all your friends a serious case of the willies back in the day, I can only imagine how you felt when you first found yourself indulging in slam. One minute you’re headbanging to death metal, air-guitaring to sick riffs and trying to tap out blast beats with your feet while driving, and the next you’re eating out of a dumpster and slapping a piece of stale fried chicken against a trash can lid while bellowing through a throat full of bile at the raccoons that have inexplicably declared you their king. It was sick and vile and wrong, and yet, once, you’d tasted true filth, there was no going back.
The Heretics Fork are all about that filth and more. At first blush, Tormentore, the band’s debut album, appears to be your standard corpulent corpse slam: trash-can snares, drop-z tuned riffs, and backed-up septic tank vocals all form the bloated corpus of this album. However, there’s something especially fetid about The Heretics Fork’s approach to brutality. The way the murky riffs swell and flow is reminiscent of the strange violence of Cryptae or Legion of Andromeda or Goatsblood. The surprising changes in rhythm (as far as slam is concerned, anyway) and out-there melodic leads or pick scrapes are reminiscent of more, uh, intelligent slam like that of Brodequin or Embodied Toment or Repulsive Dissection. And through it all, there’s an element X, some kind of rat stuck in the plumbing, that makes all of the album engrossing and addicting in a discomforting, shameful way.
Yeah, it’s gross, and your friends and family would be embarrassed if they heard you listening to it, but the slams are too good for you to stop. Surrender to the hedonism of a guilt-free insanity via “Diminished Unto Lunacy.”
Lest that track still, somehow, allows you to disbelieve The Heretics Fork’s commitment to body horror, their name spells out what they’re all about. The heretic’s fork was a medieval torture device used by the Spanish Inquisition to prevent a blasphemer from speaking further lies after testimony. It prevented these maledictions by wedging a two-ended fork between the neck and chin of an apostate, effectively rendering them mute through agonizing (though non-fatal) pain. Victims would only increase their discomfort by attempting to speak and were vulnerable to disease and infection. It was gnarly as hell, as is the band that bears its moniker.