Heretic - Torture Knows No Boundary (Metal Blade) 1986
Heretic started off as a classic heavy metal band with slight tinges of thrash influences. Their style was similar to that of Armored Saint or Metal Church. In the 80's they would have been called power metal as they were a bit heavier and thrashier than the average metal band, but they weren't quite thrash metal either. Now that label would bring thoughts of Dragonforce or Rhapsody. However, Heretic are not a flowery, keyboard laced, progressive band. Their debut EP starts off with a cover of Russ Ballard's "Riding With the Angels", a song also recoarded by Samson and Bruce Dickinson. The song is catchy and the band does a great job with the song. After this there are three originals, all of which are good straight forward heavy metal rockers. "Blood Will Tell", "Portrait of Faith" and "Whitechapel" all have some great riffs, solos and vocals. Julian Mendez has some nice shrieking vocals that are reminiscent of David Wayne, although not a carbon copy either. The last song is a melodic instrumental. Overall, a good start from Heretic. Only thing that would have made it better would have been more songs. As far as I know, "Torture Knows No Boundary" has never officially been released on CD.
Heretic - Breaking Point (Metal Blade) 1988
1. Heretic (3:37)
This final piece in the Metal Church trilogy is now part of my collection. Heretic's "Breaking Point" is a speed metal masterpiece with some thrash metal moments as well. Musically it fits quite nicely in between Metal Church's "The Dark" and "Blessing in Disguise". Had I not known, I might have thought this was an unreleased Metal Church album. The songwriting varies from the fast and furious to mid-paced heavy metal to more melacholy moments. like in the acoustic intro of "Heretic." While this song starts off with a little acoustic intro, it builds up stronger and stronger until it breaks into a pure headbanging speed-metal riff. Mike Howe's vocals are powerful. It's no wonder that Metal Church snapped him up after this disc. Lets not forget the incredibly fast soloing that this band also has. "And Kingdoms Fall" takes the speed down slightly but never lets up in the intensity. Once again Mike Howe's vocals are a real standout here. His vocals melodies along simply shred. "The Circle" and "Enemy Within" continue walking over the same fence between speed metal and power metal. "Time Runs Short" then starts off slowly, and builds up to some massive, bludgeoning riffs. This is one of the finest songs on the disc. After a short acoustic interlude called "Pale Shelter", "Shifting Fire" slams you in the face. This song is an uptempo thrasher. "Let 'Em Bleed" continue with the same speed and in-your-face intensity, Howe screaming the whole way. This song, along with many of the others, have a distinct Judas Priest vibe to them, especially in the extended guitar section in the middle of the song. "Evil for Evil" is a bit slower, but man Mike gives the vocal performance of his life here. This song has some thrash riffing going on although the band never really crosses over into pure thrash metal terrain, preferring instead to give a solid speed metal performance. "The Search" is a seven minute epic track that closes out the album. This track is unlike the rest of the disc as it is a power ballad. Unfortunately that discription is a bit misleading as one tends to think of some sugary sweet radio ballad. However, "The Search" is still heavy, complex and has more in common with the likes of Saxon's "The Eagle Has Landed" or Metal Church's "Anthem of the Enstranged" than anything overtly commercial. Heretic is speed metal at its finest. Pure classic 80s speed metal. If ever there was an album that deserved to be re-issued, this is it. Unfortunately for now, it's probably one of the rarest and most sought after metal CDs around, along with Reverend's first EP.
Hailing from one of the metal capitals of the world, Los Angeles, California, Heretic were a band whose time was cut short after only an EP and one classic studio album. The band fragmented with singer Mike Howe moving to Metal Church and the remainder of the band forming Reverend with former Metal Church singer David Wayne. In 2011, Heretic reformed with founding guitarist Brian Korban and vocalist Julian Mendez who sang for the band on their 1986 "Torture Knows No Boundaries". Rounding out the newly formed Heretic are two thrash metal veterans, bassist Angelo Espino and guitarist Glenn Rogers. The two have a formidable history in groups as widespread as Deliverance, Vengeance Rising, Steel Vengeance, Uncle Slam, Hirax, Once Dead and even Reverend. Together Glenn and Angelo were in both Hirax and Once Dead together. Quite the resume.