Hailing from Hamilton, Heterodox (meaning not conforming or accepting orthodox standards or beliefs), have created a debut album that deftly merges early ’70s prog, ’90s alt rock and early 21st century stoner and doom.
Bringing to mind the likes of Tool, Mastodon and King Crimson, often in the same song, it’s an impressive feat given the band’s three-piece format. Recorded at Sister Lung Productions, Napier, produced and mastered by Nick Blow and Brett Stanton respectively, ‘Elixir Of Lethe’ is an impressively long-burning record.
Whilst Luke Burns (songwriter, guitar, vocals), Floyd Pepper (bass, vocals) and Jared Green (drums) are clearly indebted to their influences, in just five tracks they have managed to combine everything great about alternative rock and metal of the last 20 years. Bong-water drenched riffs, finger-shredding guitar leads and creative vocals melodies, with only third track Imageless clocking in under the seven minute mark, it’s an album to digest in its entirety.
The title track opener provides a brilliant introduction to Heterodox’s sound and the record’s epically heavy sounding production. Amorphous best displays the band’s use of dynamics, complete with Layne Stayley-inspired vocals. It also illustrates Burns’ skill as a songwriter; “There’s just no place here for this, so I lose form and be free,” he wails, an appropriate lyric for the song’s complex structure. While they have a raw feel, production quality is kept high and their musical alchemy is evident.
A truly exciting stoner rock record and a future cornerstone of Kiwi metal.