“It’s about finding silence and calm in the chaotic behavior and disorder of feeling defeated.” — HEIRESS‘ John Pettibone on “Quiet Tension”
Seattle post-hardcore/sludge collective HEIRESS today unveils the chest-collapsing sounds of “Quiet Tension.” Now playing at No Echo, the track appears on the band’s long anticipated Distant Fires full-length, set for digital release on December 3rd followed by a vinyl release February 25th, 2022 via their new label home of Satanik Royalty Records.
Writes No Echo, “‘To me, they had this Swiz/Neurosis hybrid style, and they instantly became my favorite local band,’ vocalist John Pettibone told me in a 2016 No Echo interview about the first time he heard HEIRESS, the group he would eventually end up joining after original frontman Adam Paysse’s exit. At the time, the hardcore and metal veteran (Undertow, Himsa) was promoting HEIRESS‘ third studio album, Made Wrong. Now, six years later, John and HEIRESS are gearing up for the release of their next full-length, an excellent collection they’ve called Distant Fires…”
Described Pettibone of the theme driving “Quiet Tension,” “It’s about finding silence and calm in the chaotic behavior and disorder of feeling defeated.”
Stream “Quiet Tension” at No Echo HERE.
Distant Fires was recorded at MRX in the SODO district of Seattle in November 2019. Scott Evans (Kowloon Walled City, Yautja, Floor) lent his recording and engineering skills to the album, giving it a big, natural, roomy sound well-suited to HEIRESS’ organic approach and tone-obsessive timbre. The album was mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege in Portland. Though steeped in despair, Distant Fires is a slow-burner of an album that reveals a new dimension of its power with each listen.
At some point we’ve all yearned for that signal from the future; a marker from someone further down the trail indicating that hope looms on the horizon. It’s an especially prescient image in our current tumultuous times, but for anyone taking the road less travelled, it’s an even more profound visual. When Seattle’s brooding metallic quartet HEIRESS bestowed the title of Distant Fires on their fourth full-length, the world hadn’t yet succumbed to a pandemic and the full scope of our nation’s descent into political paranoia hadn’t yet gone mainstream. The title wasn’t a comment on current events; it was a personal plea for guidance. Across Distant Fires‘ eight tracks, that desperate search takes the shape of glacial riffs, pensive and exploratory melodies, monolithic dirges, and expansive swaths of forlorn atmosphere.
HEIRESS has forged their own path since 2006, ever since guitarist Wes Reed set out on his vision to concoct bleak, dynamic, forward-thinking, hardcore-informed metal. Longtime friend Justin Martinez took on drum duties and scene veteran John Pettibone (Undertow, Himsa) assumed the role of frontman. With this core unit, HEIRESS shuffled through various auxiliary members and released a slew of EPs, splits, and studio albums. The band’s prior label affiliations speak to their stylistic breadth — metallic hardcore stalwarts Deathwish Inc. issued their debut album Early Frost (2012) while defunct post-rock outlet The Mylene Sheath released their last two albums Of Great Sorrow (2015) and Made Wrong (2016). Always difficult to pin down or pigeonhole, HEIRESS’ stylistic fluidity allowed them to share the stage with bands like Eyehategod, Cave In, Integrity, Hot Water Music, Voivod, and 40 Watt Sun. Or as Reed puts it, “we’re all used to being the heaviest band on a lighter bill, or the lightest band on a heavier bill.”
For Distant Fires, the band eschewed the dueling guitar attack of Made Wrong and reduced their ranks to a quartet. With Mat Houot holding down bass duties, HEIRESS streamlined their instrumentation to make the songs more focused and the overall sound less dense. Reed is quick to point out that this new configuration also means odd notes and progressions are left intentionally unresolved, and unexpectedly simple riffs remain much more stark and unadorned. It all serves to highlight one of the many dynamic contrasts of HEIRESS — a capacity for both brutish simplicity and mind-bending savvy. On Distant Fires, you’ll hear a Slint-like use of negative space and austerity. You’ll hear Neurosis-like end-of-days low-end bombardments. You’ll hear Unwound-like crooked melodies. And yet it never comes across like a pastiche or an identity crisis. Rather, it sounds like four musicians who devoted the last thirty years to mail-ordering records and going to shows.
“…a crushing dose of punk-infused sludge metal that should appeal to fans of Neurosis, High On Fire, early Mastodon, etc.” – BrooklynVegan
Wes Reed – guitar
Justin Martinez – drums
John Pettibone – vocals
Mat Houot – bass