Melvins, Type-O-Negative, Mad Season
Heretic's Fork was somewhat short-lived, but put out two very solid albums. Hailing from Rhode Island and New York, they commenced in 2001 developing a unique doom stoner rock feel. Their debut, self-titled album was released in 2003 and contains six substantial tunes. To provide you some substance behind their name, the "heretics fork" was a torture device with two opposed bi-pronged "forks" as well as an attached belt or strap. The device was placed between the breast bone and throat while the victim was hung from the ceiling or otherwise suspended in a way so that they could not lie down. A person wearing it couldn't fall asleep. The moment their head dropped with fatigue, the prongs pierced their throat or chest, causing great pain. This very simple instrument created long periods of sleep deprivation. People were awake for days, which made confessions more likely.
Indeed with this backdrop you should anticipate some very dark themes. The debut album is laced with doom and stoner genre influences, but also has a very melodic and impressive texture to it. The songs take shape quickly and provide intriguing lyrics and the ability to mix tempos and powerful build-ups in its favor.
1) Undefined- 612
2) Seed- 7:15
3) Minus One- 8:10
4) Sweet Life- 7:25
5) Aphasiapersilence 4:53
6) Embedded- 9:19
"Undefined" impresses right off the bat with its grinding and rhythmic guitar work. This first track also gives you a very good feel for lead singer Adam's (we can't find his last name anywhere) charismatic vocals. "Seed," provides us some inspiring chills as we can see where post rock gods, Isis, may have received some of their influences as the intro is eerily impressive. The tone of the guitar-work and quiet build conjures up a unique comparison. The track builds further to provide some Melvins quirkiness and engrossing trance-like lyrics harkening back to the days of Sleep's Dopesmoker. The next track, "Minus One," has one of the more impressive build-up within the album to its ultimate climax. You may also hear traces of Tool, Sabbath, and Candlemass in this one. "Sweet Life" contains some adrenaline staccato guitar rhythms accompanied by layered swirling guitar-work that sounds great on a good set of headphones. Adam's vocal's are most pronounced on this track and at times seem a little force to us. He provides much more inflection on this track, appearing an attempt at Layne Staley's technique. "Aphasiapersilence" provides a bit of experimental atmospheric noise, somewhat of an interlude to "Embedded" probably the strongest track on the album, an epic tune. Dirge-filled bliss and build's like none other.
Heretics Fork, in no way can be previewed or sampled in one sitting. This is a very flavorful and dark album, but it will take some time to take shape for the listener. Each track is quite impactful and we found very mood-setting. Ultimately they do a great job building off the doom backbone and mixing in some stoner and psychedelic influences. We have mentioned some very impressive bands in this review and that should not go lightly. Heretics Fork were short-lived but they made the best of what they had to work with in putting together a very impressive debut album. Pick this one up for your collection and give it a rotation on the upcoming hallow's eve. - 10/31/2014
Standout Tracks: Embedded, Undefined