Horned Almighty
World of Tombs

Do you remember when real metal musicians wore all black, spiked arm bands, raised middle fingers,  and said “Hails!” in interviews?  Pepperidge Farm remembers, and so do Denmark’s Horned Almighty.  

It’s obvious from the start these guys are old school through and through. …or are they?  How old does something have to be to be old school?  What does that mean as metal hits middle age?  When Six Feet Under put out Haunted in 1995 it was called old school death metal, IN ’95!!!  Bands in that early 90’s era referred to Venom and Bathory as “ancients” even though their albums were just a few years old.  It goes to show you how quickly things change and expand during extreme times of musical innovation.

On album number 5, World of Tombs, Horned Almighty take some rough and tumble black and death metal, toss in some punk and rock ‘n roll boogie , keep the energy high, and  fists pumping higher.   While these guys probably love Motorhead’s Greatest Hits, and cover Autopsy to close the album on the digipack,  what I really hear is an updated and beefier version of the growing influence of punk and  blues based riffs that started infiltrating black metal circa the early 2000’s . The most obvious point of reference would be bands like Darkthrone and Satyricon which are prominent influences here.   Maybe it’s not surprising that Horned Almighty’s first demo’s were in 2003.   Are the early 2000’s old school now? It’s the same difference in years from Welcome to Hell to Covenant as it is Volcano to World of Tombs.  Think about that a second.  Are they drawing from new old school, or the old, old school?  Who knows, who cares really, but I’m glad to see death and black metal now having enough longevity you can see the genetic imprints left in future generations.  “Look at you Horned Almighty,  getting so grown up and handsome now, and you got your  Grandpa Frost’s dimples and Grandma Bathory’s crooked pinkie toe!”

This means of course  the album isn’t terribly original.  Everything feels very familiar and if you got enough metal scribes around a table you could probably dissect every riff on this thing.  The most important question remains that in light of its familiarity is it tired or inspired.  But Is it good?

Absolutely!!!  This record kills!  They wear their influences on hand sewn patches, but stitch them together well.  What they may lack in innovation they easily make up for with skill and enthusiasm.  What makes that youthful energy even more impressive is that this is the bands fifth full length, if admittedly my first introduction to them.  It’s also helped out by a production that’s as rich and warm as  pentagram covered flannel sheets.  You can feel all the sandpapery grit in every distorted guitar note, the bass throbs thick and dirty, and the drums punch in all the right places.  I’m sure the vocals come courtesy of some really skinny Scandinavian guy, but they certainly sound more like the collective howl of lighting a zoo on fire.  It manages that while not being overly compressed. Everything sounds alive and audibly sits in its right place in the mix.

If you think todays djent and tech death scenes are all noodles, weak sauce, and no meatballs, this album is for you.    If you’re looking for something more forward thinking, modern, melodic, or avant-garde, you ain’t gonna find it here and can keep on walking.  At the end of the day though, unless you’re Stephen Hawking, you’ll be banging your head and pounding the steering wheel, and even he will be telling the nurse “Get me a beer and push faster bitch” through his Speak & Spell.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Dan Wrathburn
October 16th, 2014

Comments

  1. Commented by: Jason

    Gave this a check. I’m digging it. Good one man.


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