HERO IN ERROR – Hero In Error

Irish rockers Hero In Error haven’t returned half heartedly with this self titled EP. Following a burst of drone, its opening track ‘Enemy Within’ absolutely floors the listener with an opening riff that’s as oppressive as Conan and almost as heavy as Heriot. Despite often being billed under the metalcore tag, there’s also plenty about this slow and crushing sound that comes much closer to pure doom. Not that fans should be afraid of any potential changes here; this absolutely massive approach suits the band perfectly, and as the slow riffs trudge their way across several bars, the heaviest music has the potential to win over new fans in an instant.

The arrival of a gravel-edged vocal adds a little more of a hardcore/metalcore quality, but even that has a core that works with this extreme doom/sludge sound. The main riff then injects the pure heaviness with some fierce pneumatic rhythms, and the expected metalcore heart beats furiously, sounding like a blend of Engraved Disillusion and Lycanthrope, but amped up considerably. At this early stage, it’s easy to imagine that extant fans will already by thrilled by their Heroes’ return, but with a pinch of groove metal in the riff – essential in keeping it flowing naturally – and a brief moment of lightness where a cleaner sound pierces through, this track is the work of a far more confident band. In a place where the heaviness feels as if it could become everything, it’s great to hear a few elements that feel as if they’ve been added for extra musical colour, and a couple of spins unveils a shouty hook that somehow manages to stand out and rise above the pure noise and stand out. Overall, this is a blistering three minutes that deserves to put the band squarely on the radars of new fans; a perfect slab of heaviness that’s both brutal and smart.

Dropping into a far more “traditional” metalcore groove, ‘Moths To A Flame’ makes a bigger feature of the droning sounds lurking beneath the opener, and guitarists Rob Powderly and Gary Reagan latch onto a massive riff. The bulk of the verse works more strong mechanical rhythms (driven very much by Stephen Reilly behind the drum kit, aided by some impressive triggers), but the track really shines once the chorus emerges. Although the clean vocal on the hook reverts to more of a typical metalcore sound, its contrast with the riffs is perfect, and once Kaan Tasan steps forth with another sizeable growl, there’s a feeling that things could get even heavier. And true enough, as he retches through the second verse, atop a really jagged hardcore riff, he sounds ready to burst. Just as impressive, though, is the track’s coda, which at first dispenses with some of the heaviness to introduce a colder guitar sound playing through an almost cinematic riff, and then works a slow, grinding sound which takes the band’s already intense approach and cranks it to absolutely ferocious levels.

In a change of mood, ‘Left In Your Absence’ concerns itself more with speed by sharing more of a hardcore punk feel during the intro, before injecting a little more metal into everything. By doing so, some listeners might hear nods to older bands like Strife, but it isn’t long before Hero In Error’s own character comes through a little more. Kaan’s vocal really suits this faster approach, and as the track gains traction, a couple of slower and heavier moments capturing bassist Jay Doyle adding a great weight to the bottom end provide a strong link to the earlier tracks, whilst the latter part of a superb performance throws the drums further into the spotlight. The layered arrangement also allows for a cold almost black metal guitar sound to join the more predictable metalcore riffs. Sometimes sounding like two or three different ideas glued together, this could’ve felt a little scattershot, but these guys play with such strength that it not only works well, but the constant variation gives the EP something more interesting without sounding forced.

There are only three songs here. That doesn’t seem like much after four years away. However, these performances are so powerful and so (impressively) heavy, you wouldn’t necessarily want to spend a lot more time with this band in one hit. These twelve minutes are so intense, they force the listener to pay heed to the riff, and when those riffs are as this well formed, there’s little chance of disappointment. If you’ve any interest in metalcore, you owe it to yourself to hear this at the earliest opportunity.

March 2024