Heretic have returned! Five years after their last release comes A Game You Cannot Win. In an era full of 7 and 8 string guitars, Heretic bring some classic thrash to the arena. Sounding like a cross between Overkill and Helloween, Heretic deliver plenty of straight-up, hard-hitting, riff-fuelled songs to keep your head banging throughout the album.
The album kicks in with a slightly strange piece of music. With a mix of a simple repeating melody and a samples of crowd of people it gives an unusual beginning to the album. But do not be fooled, as it’s all about to change up a few gears.
First song ‘This World Called Hell’ sets the tone for the album. While it brings nothing new to the table, it’s a solid tune with all the tried and true elements that make it a track with not much to dislike. Punchy riffs, check. Thunderous drums, check. A good dose of vocal aggression and a blazing solo, check and check.
‘Never Added Up’ brings a slight change of pace to proceedings. With a slower, softer intro it’s easy to think the song is going to fall into the realm of ballad, but it soon kicks it up. Although a brief change of pace, it helps to break the album up and add some dynamics.
The final two pieces of the album, ‘Everything’s About to Change’ and the ‘Outro’ track, bring a nice close to the album. The first provides yet more of the hard-hitting drums and riff-chugging that’s to be expected now, with the outro providing a more melodic and calm release from all the pounding drums. It’s impressive how the outro track returns to the ideas of the intro track and expands on them, bringing a sense of closure. Gone are the samples of the crowd, replaced instead with sounds of a group of children playing, and the original repeating melody evolving slightly with a few more added layers. While the intro and outro track bookend the album, they do provide a more unusual and artistic edge to proceedings.
As previously mentioned, A Game You Cannot Win doesn’t provide anything new, but if you are a fan of the LA / Bay area thrash sound then this one is for you, and you’ll know what to expect.
A GAME YOU CANNOT WIN by HERETIC is available now via DISSONANCE.