Split Re-Issue

I was a long holdout from the cd format, resisting until 1994 when I could no longer find things on either vinyl, first choice, or cassette, second choice, so when Horna started releasing vinyl only releases, even though my turntable was broken, I purchased each and every one of them starting with Sota. Eventually I got a new turntable. Fast-forward to the mp3 age and now everyone can easily add these songs to their ipods. I am glad Horna is still releasing vinyl, as is Behexen, but I am also glad both bands are deciding to do cd releases of the material as well. I never thought I’d say that.

Cold. Grim. evil. Moribund is giving the world a new release of the Horna/ Behexen split from 2004. Autistiartili Records released it in 1000 copies on cd and Grievantee released in on vinyl in 500 copies. What we lose here is the nice gatefold cover with the lyrics to Horna’s songs but not Behexen’s song lyrics printed, and the cool headshot photos of both bands from the Autistiartili version, which does not print lyrics. The Moribund version instead has a bizarre graphic that I am not even sure what it depicts, but it includes lyrics from both bands. The other tidbit that all you faithful already know is that Moribund has released many Sargeist albums, Sargeist being Shatraug (Horna), Hoath Torog (Behexen) and Horns (Behexen).

But what about the music, I guess there are some out there that do not know these recordings. Horna is satanic heathen black metal at its finest, Behexen is epic satanic black metal. Horna presents four spirited curses in the style of Envaatnags Eflos Solf Esgantaavne but harsher and dirtier. The compositions are not overly complex, which works to advantage, showcasing cool riffs and icy melodies. The shrieks and wails are only surpassed by the moans and roars.

Behexen contributes three songs recorded before their masterpiece By the Blessing of Satan, and therefore, no surprise, the sound and style is closer to Eternal Realm, slower in pace, more ominous in tone, vocals in the Immortal style, polished and well written but with a raw production. Torog can really hit the high notes, just can’t decipher any words. This is mesmerizing music. The guitars lead with monotonous rhythms with occasional flourishes. The drums are in the background but not buried. They are easily heard with a nice pitch. Blastbeats carry the load. Each song has long sections without words, letting you immerse yourself in the ritual. The music is just fast enough to spew energy and get your heart rate up but not fast enough to make your head spin, unless you are a spineless Christian, then it will make your ears bleed, though I can’t imagine them ever hearing it, but I digress. “Distant Call From the Darkness” is the most monotonous, and my favorite, “Beyond The Shadow of my Lord” shows off a faster pace and more serpentine song structures.

Forget all the pretenders, these bands are the real deal. Back in 2004 this disc got a top ten nod from me. Nothing has happened to make me change my mind.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
August 15th, 2007


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