Root – Heritage of Satan
Release: 2011Oct25 (US)
Label: Agonia Records
From the Czech Republic, Root was one one of the first black metal bands before the second wave hit. Devout Satanists, they grew in different directions than Venom and mid-’90s Norwegian bands. Root is still alive today with their ninth offering, Heritage of Satan. Let’s dig deep for this one.
1. “Introprincipio” – Is this even a song? It’s a rattly-voiced spoken-word atmospheric piece. It’s cheesy, which is okay, because Root seems to joke around a lot, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that it’s boring. F
2. “In Nomine Sathanas” – This dark piece is oriented around the Latin language, and after a tasty solo, listen for tribal drumming reminiscent of Rotting Christ. B
3. “Legacy of Ancestors” – Total black ‘n’ roll, this one is—complete with 4/4 rock drumming, solos, bouncy bass guitar, singalongs and hooks. Although the phrase “my master” gets obnoxiously repetitive after about the fourteenth time. The song also features superbly wanky guitar solos (more than one, can you believe it?) with dual sweep arpeggios and everything. C
4. “Revenge of Hell” – Spoken word nu-metal garbage. Seriously, what were they thinking here? It’s very obvious that they don’t take themselves seriously, and it’s very good that they don’t, because that would just make me hate them. Effing F.
5. “Darksome Prophet” – This song goes back to being fun, but with tasteful musicianship. It’s very frivolous, especially when it busts into the “ahhh ahhh ahhhhh” part. It steps up to a more technical brand of metal in parts, but still has a more black metal feel than the previous songs. B
6. “Fiery Message” – Damn, these guys go all over the place. “Fiery Message” moves to a more classic heavy metal feel. If I were to draw a comparison, I’d say it sounds like Jag Panzer if they tried doing black metal. Yet some of the tomfoolery reminds me of Dethklok. B
7. “Son of Satan” – Clean, baritone vocals are the first thing you notice about this song. The second are the downright arbitrary effects on guitar and drums. It’s completely awash with it. The song ends with more frivolous behavior: maniacal laughter. C
8. “His Coming” – This one is all about epic doom. Dark, epic doom. It’s not bad, for being blandly minimalist—the kind of darkness they seem to be good at. You’ll find yourself mouthing the repeated hook “I have come”. B
9. “Greetings from the Abyss” – Maybe it’s the crust punk lilt, but this song is awesome. It’s bristling with thrashing, headbanging composition. A
10. “The Apocalypse” – The song has a lot going on vocally, from spoken word, clean baritone, to growls. It starts off sounding very serious with acoustic guitars, but eventually you start hearing answering machine samples and epic anthemic goodness, with an impressive shredding centerpiece solo. The song and album ends with a sample of a woman saying in a heavy accent: “Ladies and Gentlemen: Here come His Dark Majesty, Satan”, followed by stock applause[, then the return of rattly voice with “Welcome, my son” ~Ed.]. A
Overall, Heritage of Satan features top-notch production, good guitar tone, and (for the most part) decent songs. It may start off weak, but ends strong. Notably, this album contains a tremendous variety of music, and by that, I mean no song sounds alike. If Root was a younger band, I’d say they didn’t know what they’re trying to achieve, but considering their 25 year history—and also that they sound experienced—it’s clear they’re doing what they want and they do it well.
~Breath of Mozym