Abaddon magazine

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Saturday, July 2, 2022

Review: Hegerøth – Sacra Doctrina

Label: Independent

Date: January 24th, 2022

The Polish metal scene has always been one of my favorites. I bet you can name countless let’s say more popular bands, but Hegerøth for sure deserve more chances to get out of the shadow of their comrades like Vader, Hate, Decapitated or Behemoth for example.

“Sacra Doctrina” is Hegerøth’s fourth full length. This time, I have received a promo CD from the band and I must say I am pleasantly surprised. I admit, the old ass is hard to keep up with the times. I still feel like a child in a candy store when I receive a physical release instead of links that lead to some platforms where you can listen to music. It’s all Greek to me. Thanks to Hegerøth, “Sacra Doctrina” is in my hands, and after countless spins, it is time to review it.

Silesian melodic black metallers grew up on Swedish death metal, Scandinavian black metal as well as symphonic-melodic black metal and that is what they deliver in the past twelve years, since they were formed in 2010. “Sacra Doctrina” is not an exception. If you focus on the album title, you will know what to expect, at least lyrically. Sacred doctrine, in short lines, is the science of God and the blessed. I deeply doubt that any science can prove his existence, but at least it gives a great foundation for the lyrics.

The album includes eight songs, to be precise seven, eight “In Torment Part 1” has two versions, English and Polish. And the first impression: this time the lyrics are written in Baudaleire’s style, specifically “in Torment” (all three parts). The same when I read Baudelaire, here (not just in this song, but the whole album) I can recognize the same melancholy, depravity, romantic morbidity… After I read “In Torment Part 1″, simply, it drew me instantly to Baudelaire’s” Le Mort Joyeux (The Joyful Corpse)”.

“The shovel is heavy, it sinks into the soft ground
The deeper I drive it, the more the ground soaks with blood.”

(In Torment Part I)

“Rustling grasses, filthy lawn
Soaks with blood, moth in the lamp
Insect corpses pointing at me
Sacra doctrina, sacra.”

(In Torment Part II)

“I know that with time it’ll be gone and its shine will fade
I’ll bury the next chest in torment
And the angel said to me, your time is coming
And whispered warmly, tell me about yourself.”

(In Torment Part III)

Song by song, lyrics have deeper meaning, and the overall impression is that on this album the band reaches the depth like never before. In addition, Latin verses enhance the atmosphere.

Compared to previous releases, this album is catchier, guitars are more powerful and vocal delivery might be the best by now. Production is somewhere in between, not too raw and not too polished. 

To recapitulate: “Sacra Doctrina” contains eight mid tempo songs written by Bila and Bene, engineered, mixed and mastered by Bene; art cover signed Le Nevralgie Costanti perfectly depict album atmosphere. The lyrical focus is on “In Torment” (Part I, II and III) while the rest of songs are upgrading the main lyrical subject. I don’t look back at the booklet often, but this time I will. From the black metal band you do not expect so many details. Hegerøth did this part of the job effectively as well: all the lyrics have Polish versions (translation), QR code easily leads to the video “Out of Habit” and “With Adoration”, simply, guys and their team scored.

Although they claim for themselves they are strict amateurs, I would say Hegerøth are professional amateurs or amateur professionals, depending on your perspective. Passionate indeed. Hegerøth proved they are true artists and as far as I am concerned, so far “Sacra Doctrina”is the highlight of their career.