Formed in Tokyo in 2013 Heterogeneous Andead lost little time in releasing an EP (2015’s Undead) which was soon followed by 2017’s critically acclaimed album Deus Ex Machina. After some line-up changes the band is now operating as a trio and their latest release, Chaotic Fragments is an album of Wagnerian proportions that should swell their burgeoning fanbase.
There are no fancy introductions or ambient soundscapes to prepare us for the arrival of Heterogeneous Andead’s sophomore album Chaotic Fragments. Like seeing your reflection in a bullet that’s about to hit you between the eyes opening track The Void of Sacrifice appears with little fanfare, and it’s all the more powerful for it. A swirling, tempestuous riff is underpinned by some ferocious drumming and then the band are a blur of frenetic energy for the next 51 minutes. This trio have a sound that draws on several strands of extreme metal and ties them together in a cohesive whole; symphonic and thrash are obvious influences but there are also elements of black metal and hardcore yet the band blend them all in a unique way and the resulting sound is refreshingly original.
The first time I heard Heterogeneous Andead I thought they maybe had two vocalists; a male crooner who took care of the guttural growls and a female singer who delivered the mezzo-soprano parts. Therefore, it was quite a surprise to learn that Haruka was the sole vocalist. In the blink of an eye, she can switch between satanic snarls and angelic operatic singing, the effect is startling and demands your full attention. However, that’s just one of many juxtapositions which echo throughout Chaotic Fragments as organic instruments are paired with surgical synthesisers and neo-classical guitar lines sail over primitive black metal blast beats. These tensions of opposites make Chaotic Fragments an album you actually engage with; this is not the type of record you play as background music.
Heterogeneous Andead have always displayed a technical edge, but their latest album takes it to a whole new level. Guitarist Yusuke Kiyama crams an impossible number of notes in the shortest amount of time, sometimes he plays so fast he appears to be turning backwards, yet his compositions never lose sight of song structure and remain catchy and memorable. There are moments of existentialism too, such as the keyboards that appear halfway through Fragments of Memories, they’re vamping, discordant and totally out of sync with the main body of the song. You get the feeling it shouldn’t really work but the band push it with such confidence that it does. Chaotic Fragments is a full-on sonic assault and by the time we reach closer Licking we’re left feeling battered and bruised (but in the best way of course).
Belying its title, Chaotic Fragments is a well-structured album that finds the band honing their skills into a fine laser beam and it’s a record that should bring them to the attention of the worldwide metal community.
Chaotic Fragments Tracklist:
1. The Void Sacrifice
2. Fragments of Memories
3. Last Reverie
4. Beautiful Nightmare
6. Mirror of the Lie