Horna
Sanojesi Äärelle

An hour and a half of new recordings from Horna. Sanojesi Äärelle, (‘to the fount of thy word’), presents the Finnish  masters of minimalism at their current best. They are still maintaining that live in the studio feel, vocals in one take, cracks and slips kept intact, etc. Motorhead lives. Corvus has been with the band for a long time now and I finally think of him as THE Horna vocalist instead of as the guy that replaced Nazgul. Nothing really needs to be said about Shatraug that you don’t already know, another masterful presentation.

October eleven 2008 was the date, “Finally, the dual album of satanic darkness and Luciferian light is out… get yours from your local arms dealer” was the message. The long delayed 2008 Horna release was finally out. Now it is time for the long delayed review. Unfortunately I’m working from MP3 files because my promo copy was lost in the mail. The post office was nice enough to send me the empty mailer. I’m buying my own copy of this one, I guarantee it.

Lets start with the basic overview. Slow and harsh with fast breaks, fast and harsh with slow breaks. Pounding drums that never overpower the guitars and memorable riffs twisted to perfection, all with Corvus shrieks and screams over the top of it all. Sounds like a run on sentence full of bad grammar, might I call it folkish? Makes me think of a comment Lemmy made many years ago, when Bryan Robertson was trying out for the band he commented that the music was harder to play that he thought it would be. Lemmy’s response, don’t tell me tell the media. Horna comes across that way, it seems simple and straightforward but when all is said and done it is intricate in its own way.

As far as sound, Horna have developed their own recording style over the years and have latched onto a sound that suits their music beautifully. They have not messed with the formula for this disc. The sound is great, grim, thin, harsh, raw, and clear enough for easy instrumental separation. Raw does not have to mean a blur of boundaries and a wall of static behind the instruments.

“Risti Ja Ruoska” makes a reappearance with a cleaner sound that makes the riffs jump out more. “Wikinger” gets turned into a Horna song, much like they achieved with “Killed By Death”, cover songs become Horna songs. “Musta Rukous” is truly mesmerizing. Songs like this can extend forever, beautifully done repetitive guitars move the music along while the blastbeats provide the static feel of floating along at leisure. There is more to the drumming than just slow speed blastbeats but it is kept  minimalist throughout, it is quick little rolls and fills expertly timed with subtle guitar squeaks that really create the mood of the songs. The second disc consists of four songs, starting with “Liekki Ja Voima” and represents a distinct stylistic change. The vocal delivery is slower, more mournful than painful, the guitar tone is warmer, and instead of leaping riffs the guitars help the rhythm much more.

This is a lengthy album that clearly could have been split into two releases, each one of which would have been artistically complete and no one would have felt slighted in either duration or quality. Instead Horna once again goes the direction of extra value for your money. They succeed at this because even though it is quite a long album it soars past and immediately elicits a desire to hit repeat. This album gets the Iron Fist Award for excellence 2008.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
August 29th, 2009

Comments

  1. Commented by: slimylimey

    Fantastic review Grim, and a fantastic album.


  2. Commented by: Dimaension X

    Great review – this is really a good album, especially for Horna “newbies”. Though the production is rough and raw, and the vokills screechy, the songs are downright rockin’ and often melodic. You could almost imagine the songs with a cleaner vocal approach, and this would still be great, heavy dark metal.

    Their music is truly “hypnotic”, retains your attention throughout the whole of the two albums. It sounds like they just set up the amps and blasted away. These guys must be a tight live band.


  3. Commented by: vugelnox

    love this album, one of the best black metal releases of 2008


  4. Commented by: Dan

    The Mighty Grimulfr be late to the party on this one.


  5. Commented by: axiom

    Nice review Grimulfr, and what a strong release by Horna. This was one my favorite CDs from 2008.


  6. Commented by: gabaghoul

    I always enjoy reading Grim’s reviews, they have their own unique pace and flow. Especially when they are short and punchy like Hemingway. Which makes Grim the black metal Hemingway. I will go check this album out now.


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