You know what a telltale sign of a truly special band is? When from their very first single, they’ve got not only an inescapable grip on everyone who hears them, but it’s one that feels so unmistakably fresh. That’s a space that Heriot have embodied pretty much since their first track, dropping singles here and there since 2020 that have all been met with rapturous enthusiasm of the next great British heavy band. And of course that’s met on their new EP—momentum this rapid doesn’t just suddenly fizzle out overnight—but it’s perhaps the magnitude and styling of it all that’s the most ear-catching. Profound Morality is only 20 minutes long, but what Heriot can do in that time effectively blows any and all competition out of the water on impact. For starters, this is heavy heavy, in the mountainous, carnivorous roars of guitar from Debbie Gough and Ethan Alman, strengthened by a bass tone from Jake Packer that sounds as though it’s trying to rip apart the earth from underneath it. Add all of that into a track like Coalescence, in which an almost industrialised crunch of violence in its opening blast is ripped away for creeping, haunting dread, and it frankly couldn’t sound more enormous. This isn’t the sort of heavy material that tends to cross over to the extent that Heriot have, either; ‘extreme’ might be a slight misnomer, but there’s just as much death- and sludge-metal in this as hardcore, and that’s where the unassailable edge comes from. This is an EP that’ll split off across its musical map, but it never wastes a second in doing so. There’s precision and power baked into the most minute fibres its DNA, raging through a galvanised heavy sound that no one else is pulling off like this.
But it even goes deeper again, as none of this comes across like a new band trying to find their feet to any degree. At this point this early on, Heriot are fully-formed with a sound that’s decidedly their own and a vision that’s already expansive. The comparisons to Knocked Loose and Code Orange do spring to mind—right down a precociousness attributed to both—but there’s just something about Profound Morality that can vault over even that. Something about the combination of Gough and Packer’s vocals and the untethered rage that both with extol, or the production that boosts every instrumental angle to sound as colossal as possible without diluting the crush by even an iota. It just hits that bit more viscerally coming from Heriot, a factor that might be down to the slimmer EP format, but can largely be attributed to a band who simply know how to channel forward-thinking ambitions. In both the lyrics and the sound, there’s a bleakness that’s impossible to miss, but it’s hard to remember when a new band has accomplished giving off that feeling and felt this magnetic in doing so. Everything about Heriot screams of a band primed and ready to take metal’s baton for themselves, and to run with it for absolute miles. Free of restrictive trends or gimmickry, or any anything approaching a concession, this is among the new gold standard for metal in 2022. Hell, just for heavy music in general; Heriot clearly aren’t ones to confine themselves to a particular box, and to see them steamroll across the alternative landscape as one of the most exciting and essential bands around makes that all the better.
For fans of: Code Orange, Knocked Loose, Nails
‘Profound Morality’ by Heriot is released on 29th April on Church Road Records.
Words by Luke Nuttall