Heriot - Profound Morality [EP] (Cover Artwork)


Profound Morality [EP] (2022)

Church Road Records

It would be fair to say there is a bit of a buzz around Heriot at the moment. Especially over here in the UK. Hailing from Swindon, the four piece (Debbie Gough, Jake Packer, Erhan Alman and Julian Gage) play a fascinating and modern meld of sounds. There’s industrial, electronics and periods of ambience. But more than anything else, Heriot make utterly crushing metallic hardcore. Starting life as a 3-piece, it was the addition of Debbie in 2019 (on vocals/guitar) that was seemingly the creative catalyst for the band, who had effectively been on hiatus for the 4 years previous. In the time since Debbie’s arrival, a slew of singles, a cover of Machine Head’s Ten Ton Hammer and an almost unrelenting touring ethic (aside from lockdown periods, of course) have seen the band gain notoriety for their new material and pummelling live shows alike. What is maybe more exciting still, is the fact that the band seem to be adored by the music press, their ever-growing army of fans, scene purists and chin-stroking musos equally. Rarely has a band had ‘hype’ status whilst receiving universal critical claim and not compromising their sound or style in any way.

For me it’s clear why this is happening. Heriot are unquestionably a band of incredible talent and potential. Their dynamic range is vast, their writing style always interesting, and my god…when they want to be, they can be about as heavy as any band you care to think of. No, they’re not the first to combine the elements they do (Code Orange immediately spring to mind), but there is a truly sinister, ‘ghost in the machine’ feeling to Heriot’s music where Code Orange (and some of their peers) opt for a more frenetic, ‘cut-and-paste’ approach to their compositions. The title track and closer of this EP, for example, is imbued with an almost tangible sense of malevolence before there is even a chord struck. Similarly, the opening track “Abaddon” is basically an intro track, but at over 2 minutes long and made almost entirely of synths and bass, takes it time to ensure it achieves what it sets out to do. Which is generate the right ambience to usher in “Coalescence”. An absolute sledgehammer of a track that pummels from the get-go, but also showcases the band’s skill for building something far more filmic than one might assume possible from a metallic hardcore band. If that’s even what they are, I suppose.

I shan’t cover the full extent of what Heriot lead you through in the 8 tracks that make up Profound Morality, but I will say this; they traverse musical influences and styles effortlessly, cohesively and with amazing intensity. the band have said that the EP “reflects different aspects of human behaviour in our modern society. How far people push their moral boundaries to achieve what they want”, so this intensity is a form of social commentary. Again, a step away from the more typical ‘tough guy’ hardcore posturing. It’s also worth pointing out that at over 20 minutes, this release is more fully formed than most EPs, both in length and scope. All told, it does everything an EP should, and leaves me almost rabidly excited for the debut full-length. And I know I’m not going to be the only one.