RORCAL - Heliogabalus

Rorcal - Heliogabalus

1 songs
70:32 minutes
***** ******
Cal Of Ror / Division / Urgence


Roman emperor Heliogabalus and the decadence surrounding him have always been a fond topic for all kinds of artists. This time, Swiss sludge doom metal band is paying tribute to this controversial figure on their second longplayer. Considering that the quintet from Geneva has already released two EPs containing each a single half hour track, it’s no surprise that they are going all the way this time by limiting themselves again to only one song, with a gigantic length of seventy minutes!

The doom metal genre, thanks to its slow pace, has given birth to a lot of epic tracks, but this must probably be the longest one I have ever come across. Heliogabalus is definitely a love-it-or-hate-it affair, with hardly any middle ground in between. Admittedly, a musical oeuvre cannot be more self-indulgent, but what the heck?, because this is the spirit that makes exploring frontiers so rewarding.

Heliogabalus starts slowly with the drummer hitting the hi-hat, long intervals separating each beat, showing from the start that this will be a crawling monster. Once the guitars enter the big picture, we are treated with low tuned guitar chords with heavy distortion, that leave an electric sizzling hum well after the actual chord has ended. The hysteric vocals add an anguish that furthermore emphasises the utter feeling of despair. Sometime after ten minutes, there comes a more experimental part, with electronic effects making for an even weirder sound, and believe it or not, but much later on, there is even a faster part where the drummer can finally make use of his double bass drum skills.

I don’t deny it: there are certainly parts that drag, but the sludge doom genre works at its best when it gives its different parts minutes to unfold their hypnotic strength. And once you made it through the seventy infernal minutes, you will be surprised how much variety the musicians put into this epic journey. I was sceptical at first, afraid that this was just a purely formal exercise, but it works wonderfully well! The great production renders the listening experience even grander, but it’s the incredibly thought through composition of different elements that prevent boredom from arising. Doom metal fans who are unafraid to explore the more extreme artists of the genre can either buy the CD which comes in a limited blood-red wax sealed and hand assembled digipak, or download it for free from the band’s website. It’s definitely worth the effort!

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