Heruvim – Battle For Cimmeria Review

Ukraine’s Heruvim burst into the scene ‒ and our 2022 EP list ‒ with last year’s beastly Shadowheart. They showed a massive affinity towards Edge of Sanity (the melody, the gargantuan riffs, the deep growls) with additional threads reaching towards thrash, greasy technicality, and an epic mindset. It was exactly the type of “YES, GIVE ME MORE” thing that you want from a debut release, particularly a debut EP. Tease me, please me, etc.

Release date: June 2, 2023. Label: Redefining Darkness.
Barely a year later, and Heruvim is back with another EP, but this one has a little more homeland intent behind it. All proceeds earned from this release will go directly to support Ukraine’s army as it fights to defend the nation from Russia’s unjustified and horrific invasion. The EP includes audio of “Slava Ukraini” (“Glory to Ukraine”), yelled by an unarmed Ukrainian soldier just before being executed by multiple Russian soldiers (video of which was widely circulated online). The closing, somber instrumental is titled “Fallen Heroes.” Even the title, Battle for Cimmeria, conveniently refers to both early settlers of the land that is now Ukraine and the band’s love for Robert E. Howard.

Such deeply emotional and honorable actions would justify this release on their own, but the music of Battle for Cimmeria proves that Shadowheart was by no means a fluke. These boys simply know how to make positively humongous death metal that isn’t quite melodeath and isn’t quite progressive, but pure kickassery no matter the exact style. After a scene-setting intro (entitled “Counteroffensive”), “Malachor V” drops some serious heft with a doomier beginning, plenty of blasts supporting catchy melodies, and the band’s penchant for bonkers, intimidating heft (heft that as always is supported by those deep growls).

The title track follows. From the somewhat subdued leads (more narrative than flash… most of the time) and battle drives placed somewhere between Amon Amarth and Bolt Thrower to some bonkers heavy undercurrents and a climax that flirts with techy dissonance, every second ups Heruvim’s game. Then only the aforementioned instrumental is left as space for the listener to ponder both Heruvim’s deep dedication to their homeland and their love of fantasy and sci-fi (“Malachor V” is a Star Wars reference, so they aren’t just writing about Conan).

Wicked good tunes and a great cause. Be wicked good and toss some cash Heruvim’s way.

Posted by Zach Duvall

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; Obnoxious overuser of baseball metaphors.

  1. Holy shit, this slays. And it comes with the benefit of supporting Ukraine. Take my money! (Guess I gotta look into Shadowheart now too).


  2. Yeah, this is very good. Must go check out their earlier stuff.


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