There isn’t much in terms of smoke and mirrors when it comes to Void Ritual’s debut LP, Heretical Wisdom (Tridroid Records). It’s a straightforward black metal album through and through. And that’s a great thing. In a subgenre where it’s far too easy to coast on cliché and spectacle, a little earnest effort goes a long fucking way.
To truly appreciate Heretical Wisdom’s down to brass tacks aesthetic, you just need to check out the band behind the effort. What’s that? No band here. All the vocals and instrumentation here are delivered by one Daniel Jackson. I think it’s a name that we’ll hear more and more about in extreme metal circles.
But most importantly, Heretical Wisdom never overstays its welcome. Jackson knows what he wants and more often than not he delivers black metal smart bombs like ‘The Flood’ and ‘The Frozen Altar’ that rarely exceed the 5-minute mark. If tremolo picking and blast beats are what you seek, then Jackson has got you covered on ‘Breathing Ice’ and the especially sandblasting ‘The Maelstrom.’ Well, to be completely honest, most of Heretical Wisdom comes down to the never-ending blast beats and the overflowing amounts of tremolo action. And again, I’m cool with that. That’s what I enjoyed most of the black metal albums of my youth. I listened to a lot of Darkthrone and Emperor in college.
While that simple musical combination it’s my favorite aspect of the album, I can understand if certain listeners are put off by the similarity of most of the material. Upon the first spin, it may seem like sounds blurring together, but I don’t think black metal is something that can be evaluated with limited exposure. Heretical Wisdom certainly deserves repeated listening.
Sometimes less is indeed more. Jackson certainly seems to understand that will become someone to watch.