Horrendous
Ecdysis

Back in 2012 these yanks released, The Chills, a damn fine Stockholm styled death metal album that made it into the top ten of my 2012 year end list. I was curious as to how the band would follow it up and keep up with the retro trend that’s been top notch since and especially here in 2014. But all reservations were laid to rest when I pressed play and the simply brilliant opening track “The Stranger” starts. There’s a point about 1:44 in where you just know this album is going to fucking rule and Horrendous are elevating their game.

It’s ironic that Ecdysis is the biological term for a insect shedding its exoskeleton, as Horrendous have themselves morphed and evolved. Nothing drastic mind you, but they have emerged from the Stockholm retro revival with a more progressive and ambitions but still familiar take on a classic sound. This isn’t a Tribulation or Morbus Chron like evolution, but a more subtle and ambitious take on the tone and delivery. It’s still got that gorgeous hm-2 guitar tone and Martin Van Drunen styled rasps but musically these guys are adding delicate touches to the sound similar to what Seance did with their debut, Forever Laid to Rest back in 1992 and Cemetary did with Godless Beauty in 1993. It’s more forward thinking, bold and refreshes a tried and tested sound, but still instantly recognizable in its primary influence.

The aforementioned opener sets the bar pretty fucking high, but the rest of the album holds up as the band allows the genre more room and space with some gorgeous Fleurety-ish bass work that really stands out, even amid the mid range buzz of the guitars. The band perfectly renders some good old fashioned romps as heard on the likes of “Weeping Relic” or doom tinged “Heaven’s Deceit”, but it’s when the band expands its creative wings a little where the album becomes much more striking. The twisty “Resonator”, more complex, Liers in Wait styled “Monarch” or the album’s second best track, “Nepenthe” deliver memorable but clever time changes and shifts under the general guise of Left Hand Path/Ever Flowing stream-ness, but full of invigorating little touches. Even the acoustic interlude “The Vermillion” has a air of progressiveness about it.

The only misstep is the short instrumental “When the Walls Fell”, where the band’s ambition falls a bit flat being almost a classic rock sounding track that I initially thought was a Accept or Judas Priest cover. Luckily, the more menacing lurch of “Pavor Nocturnus” gets the album back on track before stunning closer “Titan” ends the album with a glorious but somber dirge (including some very well used, hymnal clean vocals), showing progression and ambitious songwriting does not have to be about 10 minute songs or lengthy intros. Folks, that is how you start and end an album.

And that is also how you deliver one of the best albums of the year.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
September 15th, 2014

Comments

  1. Commented by: timmy

    Yep, yep, yep! Spot on, ET!


  2. Commented by: Luke_22

    Yeah digging this a great deal. Big step-up from an already strong debut.


  3. Commented by: fredrik

    nice! that first seance record is called fornever laid to rest though


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