New Band of the Week: Heriot

Describing themselves as “not for the faint-hearted,” Swindon’s Heriot offer up a violent assault on your earholes with a crushing hardcore sound. They add to that aggression and intensity with meaningful vocals that are aimed at “exploring humanity’s plague of devastation.”

The band originally started out as a three-piece of Jake Packer (bass and vocals), Erhan Alman (guitar) and Julian Gage (drums) and quickly grew a reputation across the south-west. A four-year hiatus followed before a ‘rebirth’ as they brought in Debbie Gough on vocals and guitars last year.

That’s seen Heriot release their first music since an EP in 2016 with a whole new dimension to their sound. As the band explain: “We’ve actually known each other for years as we’ve played a number of shows with Deb’s old band, Dead Hands. Having previously been a three piece and Jake playing bass in addition to doing vocals, there had been somewhat of an invisible barrier at times limiting what was physically possible for us to play as well as put vocals to.

“Adding Deb as a guitarist and vocalist has opened doors for us while writing not only from a practical sense but also an artistic sense while she was previously in a completely different sounding band.”

Indeed, new single Cleansed Existence is a statement of intent in a two-minute barrage of pure carnage. It dives straight into a huge wall of guitars and wild screamed vocals over pounding drums, then drops into big booming riffs and wild synthy sounds in the distant background. A brief pause drops into Debbie’s intense vocals over unrelenting drums and drawn-out guitars, which feeds into a cool little piercing guitar solo.

It turns all sorts of dark after that, with huge chugging low-tuned guitars and guttural vocals bringing the track to a massive ending. Check it out in the video below:

On the new track they told us: “Cleansed Existence has been received with so much more enthusiasm than we could have hoped for! The track itself was the first song we wrote as a four piece, it’s abrasive, hard hitting and it’s a perfect representation of the band in 2020.

“Landing a spot on the Knotfest website and being added to two of their Spotify playlists have been a highlight for us, while we’re all big Slipknot fans. We worked on our new music for such a long time and felt so relieved to get it out there. We’re feeling very grateful for the response and we are excited for everyone to hear what else we’ve been working on.”

The new track, and upcoming new music with Deb on board, follows the band’s World Collapse EP in 2016. It’s well worth a listen, with dark, brooding guitars and heavy vocals, typified by intense second track China Lake.

But a personal favourite is title track World Collapse, which opens up with a cool little bassline then piercing guitars then drops into driving guitars under a huge cried vocals beginning with the line “This is a burial ground.” The pace drops with a plodding bass, gradually builds up with chugging guitars, and finishes in seriously heavy fashion. Give it a listen here:

Heriot’s members bring quite different tastes to the table but share common ground with bands like Nails, Full of Hell, Knocked Loose, Jesus Piece, Fuming Mouth.

And on their musical inspiration, they tell us: “We’ve definitely tried to focus our attention on specific topics lyrically with the new material. This year especially has brought out the worst in people and Cleansed Existence touches on the many social issues we’re experiencing at the moment.”

You can expect plenty of new music from Heriot next year, as well as other content and new merch. As the band tell us: “Cleansed Existence is the first of a series of singles that visually and thematically link together. The two remaining singles will be out in the first quarter of next year. We’re also going to start writing towards an EP early next year that will most likely come out in the Autumn. Hopefully we’ll be able to play some shows by then in support of the record.”

Heriot are yet another addition to Britain’s exciting heavy/hardcore/metal scene, and they’re absolutely one of the bands you need to see live when we’re finally allowed to do so again. We love the new direction that expanding to a quartet has taken them in and we’re excited to hear what they have to offer with their new music in 2021.

You can follow Heriot on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and check out their music on Spotify, Bandcamp, Apple Music and YouTube.

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