Album: Addict – EP
More than in most places of the world—and more than ever before—addiction has been a defining aspect of the American sociopolitical atmosphere for the last ten years. With opioid crises becoming a very real consequence of overprescription and abuse—coupled with the resurgence of “hard drugs” that work by the same mechanism—addiction is rampant; and with its resurgence, so has come its ability to adapt. In 2018, addiction is no longer a strictly chemical instigator of a behavioral and physiological illness; it can be incited by TV screens and experiences, tastes and actions, and above all, sound. A familiar, amicable series of soundwaves can precipitate a longing with its absence—a need for more until it rearranges the way your mind works, distorting values and morals to do what is needed to get more.
A series of soundwaves that is truly and utterly addicted.
That might be what the listener finds with the debut EP by Heruin, an aptly named collection of potential nu metal anthems gathered as Addict. Riveting, ruthless and catchy, Heruin’s breakout effort combines hard-hitting breakdowns and contemporary aggression with a “classic” nu-metallic influence and sharply-honed edge, cutting right to the heart of the listener’s head. Balancing fun and fury, Addict is a record that sees a young band breaking into the heavy music scene with both fists swinging, taking no prisoners.
Instrumentally, Heruin carefully blend nu-metal with hardcore and metalcore to give the listener an experience that is both nostalgic (for those well-vetted in the arts of nu metal) and those uninitiated all the same. Songs like “Love” capture a somber, brooding and—for lack of a better term—eerie vibe where “Addict” and “Issues” are both faster and more catchy, driven by pummeling drums and sharp, sinister fretwork both. More aggressive tracks—such as album-opening number “Haunted”—draw more plentifully from contemporary metalcore than anything else, adding sparse nu-metalcore elements in to fill out their dynamic. Amid these songs, Heruin successfully blend a variety of elements to create a heavy, chaotic, energetic—but emotionally driven and introspective—experience for fans of all styles of heavy music to find themselves engaged by. Even as a skeptic for much of the nu-revival that’s caught a massive upswing in the last couple years, I found myself more than entertained by several moments of Addict, even if there are the moments where “influence” by several of nu-metal’s greats turns into blatant worship. “Issues,” as well as the eerie annals of “Love” stumble into this pitfall all too readily; while the songwriting remains solid and the songs themselves aren’t bad, they do sound almost totally “already done” time and time again, making them easily skippable after a couple cursory listens.
Heruin’s vocal element follows suit with their instrumental dynamics, balancing between blistering shouts, ruthless bellows and hair-raising cleanly sung vocal segments that weave between each other with practiced, perfected intricacy. Heruin—even if their sound isn’t the most unique thing to emerge from heavy music in the last decade—can’t be faulted for their talents, both musically and where vocals are concerned, as songs like “Addict” and “Gore” balance aggression and melody with mastery, and “Love” is finely crooned and sang in a fashion that will force the listener to hear it in their heads long after the song’s runtime is up. “Haunted,” a personal favorite, wins the listener over by sheer energy, taking swing after swing at the listener’s sanity until there’s precious little left, while “Addict” is more balanced, as is “Gore” and “Issues.”
However, when I mentioned the band’s vocal element followed their instrumental element to a tee, I meant the good and the not-as-good—because much like the nu-infused metalcore that serves as its backdrop, the vocal effort doesn’t break new ground, even while it’s well done. The entirety of Heruin’s sound sort of lingers in that pseudopurgatory—good, yeah, but familiar and unexciting after a couple spins—forcing it to be seriously cut down in the arena of replay value. With that said, no one can fault Heruin for not giving it their all; Addict is a harrowing testament to that. Perhaps those more tolerant of the mid-to-late-2000’s nu metal worship will find themselves more immersed in it than I, but, well-executed though it may be, Addict fails to really get me truly hooked.
For Fans Of: KoRn, Slipknot, VCTMS, Harmed
By: Connor Welsh