After a long pause I've decided it is time to feature some more black metal.
This time I've decided to give finnish black metal legend "Horna" some coverage.
This band should need no introduction for all of you who have stared into the devils eyes. If you know their earlier stuff, you know what to expect: melodic yet brutish songs telling of witchcraft, anti-abrahamism and devil worship - in Suomi of course. In this case we even have a 2-CD release (or 2 12 inch vinyls on Deviant Records) which should not be missing in every saturnine collection.
So, where do we start? At the first song of course, "Muinaisten Alttarilta". The lyrics tell of thunder, death, rebirth all in a very poetic way as far as I can tell with my limited knowledge of the suomi language. The guitars playing relentless power chords while being accompanied by likewise mercyless blastbeats. The song progresses into some layered riffs after a short while and Corvus contributes his trademark raspy higher pitched vocals which fit the song perfectly.
And now, what about the other songs? They all feature some kind of "trademark" Horna sound. You will always be confronted with some kind of (well done) melody among severely distorted guitar riffs. Let's take another song to showcase what we can expect here. "Askeesi" or "Askese" in german has another straightforward approach again with lyrics which could be interpreted as satanic (speaking of blood that has been spilled and even of Golgotha, the hill where allegedly Jesus of Nazareth had been crucified).
What about "Wikinger", the cover concerning the german band "Die Pest" ? We can explain
a bit about that. Saturnus, the guitarist contributing to this album originates from
Germany and he was the guitarist of that band in its time. Since the material seemed
fit for Horna the decision to record a cover wasn't a bad idea. How similar are the
recordings you might ask? The Pest version featured a sound which had a more "raw"
demoish appeal to it, while the Horna cover had a lot more high-pitch sound. Yet, in
both versions everything is audible enough, although it should be mentioned that
the Horna one comes up with a cleaner production.
How about the rest of the album? All of the tracks featured on here follow a good "Horna" formula; old school riffs with melodic highlights and intermezzos, non-triggered and still heavy drums, unrelenting coarse vocals and a supporting bass line which sometimes breaks out of a pure rhythm-style. Most of the songs on here fit that description, no mercy, always pushing forward with a distinct amount of devil worship.
And then, there's the second disc or LP if you've been lucky enough to obtain one of those. It features four lengthier songs which again feature the composition values Horna hast bestowed upon us; melodic relentless metal with heathenish flavour. Again, the lyrics speak of darkness, death and emptyness (Liekki Ja Voima), Sacrifices and "general blasphemy" (Ruumisalttari & Musta Rukous) and what some might call "devil worship" (Baphometin Siunaus).
What about the production? As I've mentioned before, you will experience an old-school feeling throughout the whole album. The guitars sound grim, far from being over-produced but still tamed enough so you can experience every facette of the composition. Even the bass is featured loud enough to make a lasting impression. At the ends of some songs there might be the usual "crackle" and guitar feedback a true fan should love.
Tracklist CD 1:
01 Muinaisten Alttarilta (05:30)
02 Verliehto (05:22)
03 Mustan Kirkkauden Sarastus (04:43)
04 Katseet (04:26)
05 Askeesi (04:42)
06 Sanojesi Äärelle (04:19)
07 Orjaroihu (04:29)
08 Rist Ja Ruoska (04:54)
09 Wikinger (Die Pest Cover) (03:25)
10 Merkuriana (06:02)
Tracklist CD 2:
01 Liekki Ja Voima (10:58)
02 Ruumisalttari (07:01)
03 Musta Rukous (10:50)
04 Baphometin Siunaus (08:39)
Baphometin Siunaus - or "The Blessing of Baphomet". What a great hymn for all those of the unlight. My favourite song of this great endeavour by far and even greater live. You revere both, Corvus and Spellgoth and both do a very good job featuring these songs live. Corvus appears mighty while Spellgoth seems to care more for the blasphemous imagery. What about the rest of the album? It fits that which I have written above, extreme and yet melodic, old-school and great in every saturnine way with sparks of fantasy and thoroughly "evil".
It is still available as CD, you will however most likely have to order a re-release.