Horrendous
The Chills

Well fuck! That didn’t take long! After kicking my ass for a majority of 2011 with the likes of Entrails, Cryptborn, Uncanny, Miasmal, Undead Creep, Corpsessed, Gorephilia and such, Dark Descent Records, a mere two fucking days into 2012, has unleashed yet another gem of awesome old school death metal.

Despite the label and PR folks trying to downplay it, much like Fatalist, Horrendous are a US band with an obsession with the classic Stockholm sound. No matter what spin others try and put in it, above and beyond the Stockholm buzz and atmospheres, the riffs, the melodies and the moods are pure ’90s Swedish death metal. OK, you can throw in a little dash of (early) Pestilence/Asphyx by way of the vocals (shared by guitarists Matt Knox and Damian Herring) who are often dead ringers for Martin Van Drunen (just listen to “Altars”) and some very nice early Death-era solos, you’ve got the recipe for another killer Dark Descent release.

But despite the well done extra elements, the heart of the The Chills is the buzz saw, HM-2 production and excellent riffs that seem to cull from classic Grave, Dismember and some of the more obscure Swedish acts like Desultory, Cemetary and Uncanny. In short, if you enjoyed any of Dark Descent’s 2011 releases, this is a must have, as it takes all those sounds and adds just a slightly modern, melodic and moody touch.

From start to finish, The Chills is just well done and each song deserves your ear. Whether it is the moody D-beat gallop of opener “The Womb”, the hefty grooves of “Ripped to Shreds”, urgent “Fleshrot” and “Fatal Dreams”  or the epic 9 minute closer “The Eye of Madness”, the album is top notch and without even trying to force any single element. Yeah, we get it: The Stockholm sound is making a resurgence, but The Chills isn’t so downtuned and HM-2 heavy that it would throttle the actual songs. Instead the focus is on tight, creative riffs and nice dashes or harmonies that the genre  isn’t typically known for — though some of the melodies and solos imbue latter, more melodic somber Dismember (“The Somber (Desolate Winds)”). But at no point in the album do you get a homage or forced retro vibe and there’s a fresh energy to each note and riff. If anything, the band’s homages are multiple, subtle, respectful nods in recognized directions.

As mentioned above, the album ends with the 9 minute “The Eye of Madness”, a pure ’90s epic (“The Rack”anyone?) and it deserves a little extra mention for its ambitions, variety and execution; thick, haunting grooves, fierce bridge, huge doomy mid-section, atmospheric third act, virulent, d-beat burst and a chilling climax. Simply awesome and the fitting closure for a really fucking early entry to my 2012’s year end list.

 

 

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
January 5th, 2012

Comments

  1. Commented by: ikilledNoe

    totally great review and usa release we got here, i can already see it on my top 2012 list… im confused as to why there are so many comments on AW’becoming’ and none on this… what a shame

    ,fatal dreams, stands out for me so far


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