Baphomet gets yet another workout on The Heretic Order’s second album Evil Rising, and judging from how jacked the ol’ man-goat is on the album’s cover, he’s been power lifting and gobbling clawfuls of ‘roids, mostly likely to get buff enough to impress the two nude witches kneeling graveside for his return to Earth. The album itself, is similarly pumped with all of the hackneyed gothic horror-house trappings– ominous preludes, demon voice modulations, screaming, chanting in Latin, thunderstorm sound effects, spooky organ on “Under The Cross of Pain”. Then there’s the band’s goofy noms des guerre: Lord Ragnar, Rotted Skull, Count LaVey, and Dr. Pain, and their stage costumes—corpsepaint, zombie contacts and a forehead symbol for Lord Ragnar, one of Kind Diamond’s old top hats for Rotted Skull. Titles like “Scourge Of God” and “Mortification Of The Flesh”. Throw it all together and prospective listeners would expect yet another paint by numbers Metal album of clichés, and they would right.
But the songs on Evil Rising are quite good, so who cares? The writing, playing and production proves The Heretic Order to be respectful students of the genre. Lord Ragnar and Count LaVey do a credible Denner/Sherman tribute, giving many of the songs a welcome Mercyful Fate-esque vibe. Ragnar’s vocals are interesting in that he manages to sound like any number of Metal greats and goods—sometimes he’s like Ozzy, sometimes Blackie Lawless, sometimes Cronus—while managing to craft his own style. The second half of the album is even better than the first; “The Forest Of The Impaled” and the aforementioned epic “Scourge Of God” are two standouts.
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