Review Summary: Rebirth. Regrowth. Renewal.
Heretoir's sophomore release, The Circle, compiles song after song of distilled radiance with black metal tinges to create an album of magical beauty. Guitars come lush. Journeying through uplifting progressions. Backed by harsher yet still intelligible vocals that trade places with a clean capable of delivering driving melodies. The album only ever drifts from its leisurely pace a few times. Usually providing a climax to the current movement and serving to bridge the gap between its ethereal passages. These hints of black metal pedigree, however far removed from that ancestry this may be, are few and far between. The battery is almost never hurried. Instead playing the part of the engine. The core of heat that keeps this thing gliding through space. Indeed, there are times like in standout track, “Golden Dust”, where one is completely at peace riding briskly through these clouds in a reverie of sorts. Not without its faults, The Circle undulates under its own presence. The tracks are all serene in their approach yet tend to blend into one another. They're executed wonderfully but can overstay their welcome. Paradoxical is the nature of being memorable and yet self-effacing. Heretoir don't command the majority of the tracks. Which is to say, the songs cross into a realm of buoyancy. Content to ride the tide to the next song. Of course, when Heretoir do take command of tracks as in, “Laniakea Dances (Soleils Couchants)” which has a guest spot by Neige, and “Fading with the Grey”, the journey feels much more enjoyable while remaining pleasantly blissful. Needless to say this album, however unfortunate, will be lumped with other post-black metal bands before them. Many will cry foul as Heretoir ditches the black metal/DSBM lineage for a more progressive sound. Many will claim that Lantlôs, Deafheaven, Alcest, Les Discrets (to a certain extent) have done this too. It's a tired, unoriginal path. Musically, lyrically, visually. Of course, that argument has some validity to it. One can't deny it, but Heretoir have improved from their previous sound. This Heretoir is more ambitious, but cautious. They deliver, but not regularly. This is hopefully a rejuvenation of a band that can one day forge their own sound into the genre. A sound like their peers yet entirely their own.