Heriot are ticking items off the new metal band bucket list at a ferocious pace. Since the British metal upstarts released their Profound Morality EP in April last year, they’ve demolished festivals from Bloodstock to Slam Dunk, opened for Lamb Of God and been publicly endorsed by Trivium frontman Matt Heafy. All this, and they’ve not even made an album yet.
Tonight, Heriot are celebrating yet another seismic achievement. Frontwoman Debbie Gough is one of the faces for a new series of Jackson guitars, and the marketing campaign’s seen her shred shoulder to shoulder with Megadeth legend Marty Friedman and Periphery mastermind Misha Mansoor. The band have gathered fewer than 50 friends and megafans for an intimate London gig to mark the occasion – and, despite the festive nature of the night, these hellraisers still smack like an uppercut.
The main reason Heriot have rocketed so far so quickly is that their music bristles with so much aggression. Their industrial metalcore is always ugly, always harsh, even in the atmospheric segues that separate the hulking loudness. The one-two punch of Metanoia and Enter The Flesh is a barb of sonic violence, rising from scurrying drums and squealing guitar discordance to a lightspeed hardcore onslaught. Gough snarls like a goblin gargling glass, before her shrill screams are countered by the far deeper roars of bassist/vocalist Jake Packer. Meanwhile, drummer Julian Gage is the most animated among the lineup, often rising from his kit to yell his lungs out in excitement – or just to scrunch his face up at Gough and co-guitarist Erhan Alman’s muscular riffs.
There’s minimal breathing room between the band’s beatdowns, as well. Your bog-standard Heriot song doesn’t even touch the three-minute mark, yet the four-piece have mastered the art of charging straight from one track to the other without a second of downtime in between. The sprint from the neck-snapping Near Vision – which, by the by, flaunts the best Machine Head riff that Machine Head never wrote – to Cleansed Existence is seamless. It all screams of a band who’ve spent countless hours in the rehearsal room, perfecting what on the surface is primal caveman savagery.
It’s impossible to plot exactly where Heriot will go from here, but the safe money’s on a debut album and even more acclaim to come in the near future. For a band this young, with only half an hour of released music to their name, being as talked-about as they are right now is enormously rare. The fact that their live shows are this refined proves that Heriot plan to maintain that steamrolling momentum for a long, long time.
Heriot setlist – Doc Martens Boot Room, London, September 6
Enter The Flesh