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Root - "Heritage of Satan" (CD)

Root - "Heritage of Satan" CD cover image

"Heritage of Satan" track listing:

1. Introprincipio (5:33)
2. In Nomine Sathanas (2:49)
3. Legacy of Ancestors (3:42)
4. Revenge of Hell (4:30)
5. Darksome Prophet (3:45)
6. Fiery Message (5:18)
7. Son of Satan (3:24)
8. His Coming (4:41)
9. Greetings from the Abyss (2:57)
10. The Apocalypse (5:44)

Reviewed by on November 3, 2011

"Although it maintains a unique style and is heavy on atmosphere, unfortunately 'Heritage of Satan' doesn’t quite manage to be the knockout Root needs to win over new audiences."

After languishing in obscurity for much of the band’s 20+ year history, Root is finally seeing more international recognition, in no small part due to a slate of recent re-releases of early albums. Now that Root is actually becoming a part of the darker metal scene at large, it’s time for the Czech Satanists to evolve their sound and show why they should be taken seriously amid a sea of talented bands. Although it maintains a unique style and is heavy on atmosphere, unfortunately “Heritage of Satan” doesn’t quite manage to be the knockout Root needs to win over new audiences.

The album starts with its worst foot forward, on an overblown and overlong intro that gets outright silly by the end of it’s nearly six minute length. The cheesy talking and single piano notes almost become comical as they drag on five minutes longer than necessary. From there on, thankfully the songs leave that mess behind and get into what Root is really all about; mid-paced, atmospheric heaviness that mixes in ideas from across the metal spectrum: black, gothic, traditional and more. As always, front man Big Boss mixes up the vocal styles with clear growls, ritualistic chanting, yelling, and even singing on the more clean side.

The sound quality is noticeably improved over earlier releases, and the album overall has a lush and rich production. Each song generally moves at the same simplistic pace as on the earlier releases and usually shies away from technical guitar work or furious drum beats, as the music tends to be more about atmosphere and mood than head banging. Some tracks break out of that restriction, such as “Darksome Prophet,” which is more of a proper foray into black metal mayhem than is usually heard from Root. “Greetings From the Abyss” is also significantly more energetic and thrashtastic than other songs on the disc.

Root has always done its own thing and not really cared what anybody thought about it, which led to some very interesting and eclectic albums (“The Book,” “The Temple in the Underworld”) as well as a fair share of unpolished and unfocused releases (“Zjeveni,” “Hell Symphony”). “Heritage of Satan” lands somewhere in the middle, clearly eclipsing the bad albums but not exactly reaching the heights of the good ones. Old Root fans will find plenty of sounds to maintain interest, while potential new audiences may want to give it a trial run before deciding to head into the band’s back catalog.

Highs: Those songs that mesh the atmosphere with the heaviness - "Darskome Prophet," "Greetings From the Abyss," and "The Apocalypse"

Lows: The terrible and overly long opening intro, and the overall simplistic nature of the music

Bottom line: Root continues its unique sound that developed apart from the rest of the metal scene, but fails to hit a serious home run with its latest album.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)