Dunkelheit Produktionen, 01.06.17
Every day offers an endless flow of generic, “homonymous” death. Italian Horrid knows to implement just enough melody and other hooks to make their death metal a bit more interesting.
Than again, the band does have long-running experience.
The band was founded by Max and Belfagor as Rites of Death in 1988, but changed its name to Horrid the next year. During the nineties five demos/EPs were released. Max resigned after 2014's Sacrilegious Fornication, the previous album. Beyond the Dark Border is the band's fifth album, and Belfagor are joined by two fresh faces.
Beyond the Dark Border consists of almost fifty minutes of good old death, divided into nine songs. The band offers heavy riffs and a suitable amount of melody with a certain degree of majestic, and to some extent malignant moods. The band varies the pace through nifty transitions and steady percussion, while offering sporadic sequences that stand out slightly. Check for example the fairly epic sequence that occur a couple of times during Cursed Dunes, the stereophonic effect at the start, and the rhythmic changes in the last half of Blood Painted Walls, as well as the groovy bass lines during the opening of The Statement, just to name a couple of examples.
Horrid don't revolutionize the genre, but they offer enough playful, energetic and dynamic variation to create relatively engaging death metal. Something that distinguishes them commendably from typical mediocre, monotonous, heard-it-all-before-death-metal, of which there are about fifteen bands per dozen. Sporadic fans who are looking for nothing but the most vital and outstanding death metal can probably do without this album, but Beyond the Dark Border should most likely be more than able to appeal to anyone who enjoys death metal.
Black Lion Records, 28.12.16 Vanha is a Swedish band that performs slow and leaden atmospheric death/doom bordering on funeral doom.
The band resides about 60 km north of Gothenburg, and was created by Jan Johannson no more than a year ago. He was planing the release of a two-track single, but when Jesse Oinas joined on drums and the duo signed a deal with Black Lion, they soon changed their game plan.
More songs were composed and the duration of the material extended to 45 minutes. And so, the debut was completed and released during yuletide some short six months ago.
Within the Mist of Sorrow consists of seven songs that through just over six minutes on average explores discouraging themes. Vanha deal with death in particular, but also related themes such as suffering, sadness, loneliness and resignation. For this melancholic purpose, piano, violin, pipe organ and emotional clean vocals are sometimes used, along with resounding guitar, hard-hitting drums and sorrowful growls, of course.
The band's melodies seek to convey mankind from its most vulnerable side. And succeed. The feeling of doubt and disillusionment as one realizes that life ebbs out, that one has not achieved anything, that one will not be remembered for anything, and that it is all irreversible, is palpable.
The melodies are well written, the structures are clever enough, the execution is beautiful and the sound is impeccable. I did consider the highest rating, as the album is impressively moody yet comfortable, but it might have been a bit generous. With Within the Mist of Sorrow, Vanha nevertheless deliver a very good start which deserves all the attention it can get from fans of the genre.