Horna
Askel Lähempänä Saatanaa

The guys from Horna have been silent for quite some time. A cover song on last year’s Emperor tribute, and five new songs since Sanojesi Äärelle in 2008. I thought maybe they had fallen into the abyss, turns out they had, down there on the sixth circle as the house band playing to Emperor Frederick the Second. Of course they had requests to play down in the seventh circle for Alexander as well but they have returned with new satanic inspiration, and they came back with some fresh blood.

So who are the players? Corvus is out, not just taking a break, for session vocalist Spellgoth is now in as vocalist. Bassist Hex Inferi was picked up along the way and this is his first recording with the legion. Spellgoth we know going back over a dozen years from his work with Trollheim’s Grott and more recently with Black Death Ritual. He has a long history and is a worthy Corvus replacement though it will likely take me six years to think of him as Horna’s true vocalist and not as the Corvus replacement, who in turn was Nazgul’s replacement for the better part of his reign. Vainaja has been sitting behind the kit for Horna on eight releases, this being his second full length, plus we know him from Vitsaus where he is is one of the original pests going back a decade and of course he is the current bass player in Sargeist. Infection, of course has made the rounds for better than a decade as well, notable as a vocalist as well as on strings. And main man Shatraug has some seventy releases to his credit going back to the beginning of time.

Askel Lähempänä Saatanaa
is the ninth full length and it fits very nicely into the back catalog, at any point along the way from 1995 to 2008. Shatraug has once again brought Bathory, Darkthrone and Emperor with him to the recording studio. While I thoroughly enjoy the sacred Darkthrone moments and the Emperor overtures it is the pure Horna moments that shine, and there are many of them. Several of the songs, like “Kuolema Kuoleman Jälkeen” and “Kärsimyksin Vuoltu Hänen Valittuna Äänenään” feel too short, like they could be expanded on and on without loosing impact. “Yhdeksäs Portti” stands out for Spellgoth and the deft maneuver of bringing the vocals higher in the mix, without impacting the beautifully captured guitar sound Shatraug is known for, highlights new vocalist Spellgoth and distances him immediately from the shadow of Corvus. I miss very much his high delivery, Spellgoth does not ever go there, but he sells you immediately on his dynamic approach, benefitted by Shatraug’s decision to showcase him. The drumming at once propels the songs and holds them static, allowing both for the bass lines to mesmerize and the guitar lines to entwine them and flow the songs forward. Dischord plays more of a role than speed, though there are speedy passages, creating the tension and the power, while the melodic lines stick you into the moment and draw you into the experience of really listening. While these melodic lines are not as in your face as on Envaatnags Eflos Solf Esgantaavne, they are every bit as powerful and pervasive.

The album starts with a beginning, then steps closer to Satan and offers glory to the lord king. There is no time for tears because the suffering has started and you had better serve the lord, make him yours. By the time this disc comes to an end you will be doing your utmost to get used to burning sands and raining fire so you can be in attendance for Horna’s next engagement in hell.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
March 7th, 2013

Comments

  1. Commented by: Brad

    Uh, so what does it SOUND like?


  2. Commented by: Achnaten

    @Brad: Like fucking Horna.. (raw old school BM in the vein of old Darkthrone, but much better, at least in my opinion). Horna is an excellent band with exquisite riffing !! Horns up..


  3. Commented by: vugelnox

    If you have to ask what a Horna album sounds like…


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