Review Summary: I don't know where this came from or where it was hiding but boy oh boy are you in for a treat.
Rorcal is a sludge/doom/metal/post-hardcore band from Geneva who has reached their ultimate degree of creativity and breadth. Fancying the sludge/doom aspects more than any other prior release, "Heliogabalus" is a juggernaut of an album in its purest sense. This seventy minute display of assertion follows the life course of Roman Emperor Heliogabalus in a conceptual manner. Basically Heliogabalus was enthroned into position at the young age of 14 until he was finally assassinated at the age of 18. During his life course he greatly disrespected his Roman heritage with a combination of serving shunned gods, engaging in homosexual acts, prostitution, humiliating his own family, and having his subordinates murdered for showing attention to a lower ranked member of his present day society.
Rorcal have captured the essence of Heliogabalus' short reign of disparity which was their ultimate influence into following their desire for a thicker, more effervescent type of sound. However their interpretation of liveliness was to make this release as dirty and sludgy as possible. "Heliogabalus" is at times hellish with droning terrains, scary, aggressive, but overall always gloomy. The depictions of an evil soul carrying out his every desire are displayed with some of the thickest, crustiest guitars you've ever heard. The drums main focus is to impress every moment of every opportunity into your anima, leaving no stone unturned as you're completely stripped of every guard you thought you had coming into this album for your first listen. The death vocalizing shrieks are constant and evil just as the Roman Emperors utterances, screaming blasphemous denunciations at his insignificant subordinates; clouding his domains with fear and animosity. Fully claiming its territory with dominating drum chants and electric keyboard surges, the unrelenting atmosphere never fears its ability to show its brute strength with every pound of its anger and will.
As soon as its strike is fully released, the assault of penalties is left with a lurking, contemplating mind that yearns for its next plot. From the beginning of "Heliogabalus" we’re taken through act after act of genius interpretation in successive order of desire and carry through; a complete utter distaste for anything moral, for anything sane. It's length, although outwardly long in appearance, is perfect as it’s just long enough to evoke the oppressive stains of our history into your mind. You're constantly beaten into the ground without let up until your relief comes, which is the final assassination of your oppressor. Even once the smoke has cleared you're left with scares and stains of a memory that will never be forgotten, a molten fire of hindsight, screaming, calling you into its fiery depths, never letting go.
With this tableau of heights hiding so humbly in the voids of time it can't help in being one of the most satisfying finds of recent memories. Rorcal have truly taken expression to a whole new level; embarking on what could be the greatest quests of their existence for future matters. But with "Heliogabalus" they have left an eternal mark on what music is truly capable of as well as their own rubicon. With efforts to describe what some may say is a miracle, I'm only left with saying you have to see/hear this for yourselves.