Herscher started in 2009 as a drums and bass duo. They are a doom metal act that have played a number of shows with other notable acts, including Metal Trenches favorite Alaskan. Original founders René and Roadie ultimately added Bud to their roster in 2014. This added an additional instrument, a heavier sound, and new dimension.
Like Thera Roya and Bast, Herscher represent another nice fusion of stoner and extreme. "Old Lands" starts off like some psychodelic metal from the 60's or 70's before taking on some heftier screams. The distortion is a giant, undulating blob of sex. Things get a bit slower from here, sometimes less focused on groove, per se, than building a progression. "Apocatastase," fits into this category, and utilizes a very Middle Eastern sounding atmosphere.
The mood on this album ranges from a drug-induced euphoria to utter despair. But no matter what, it's always being carried by the rumble of bass and buzzing walls of distortion; spiraling into a bad acid trip. The growls are primitive sounding, decipherable and sludgy, but still plenty gritty and well beyond what even Ozzy could have envisioned in the early days of the genre.
Despite the overall slower speed, the drums manage to stand apart at times through well-placed cymbal flourishes and accented use of toms and bass drum, particularly on instrumental track "Skull's River," which ended up being a favorite of mine. This song is dense, foreboding, and not unlike some of Nine Inch Nails' work on The Fragile in terms of atmosphere. Things continue to go from bad to worse with our LCD-induced haze on "Pétron" with the cryptic, disturbing repetition of just a few words leading the madness.
In the end, the whole thing closes on a much more upbeat note, but one that feels more like the rampant paranoia of a drug-addled brain than a day at the park. I can picture an awesomely trippy music video for this one, full of neon, hallucinated monsters and panicked running through crowds of confused onlookers. Paging Chris Cunningham (of Aphex Twin video fame). If you feel like getting a little high today without breaking any laws, I recommend Herscher to you and your friends. And unlike real drugs, it's not going to break your wallet at the price of your choosing.