For my first black metal review I decided to go with a band that I have been aware for a few months through befriending the main man behind it. Without further ado…
It is possible, though very rare, that a band inspired by the early 90s Norwegian black metal scene could actually be any good. Too often, I have read that a band is influenced by Darkthrone or Mayhem or Burzum and they sound like horrible garage band versions of their idols. It’s sad that so many seem stuck, trying to recreate something that is long past. They are musically and ideologically stuck in a period that has long since evolved beyond those roots. Burzum is now a dark ambient band, Darkthrone is a black metal punk band, Satyricon is black and roll. Why do so many bands want to recreate when they could simply build off their influences?
That is what Horrenda has done. They are clearly inspired by the early Norwegian black metal scene, yet they are not trying to copy that sound, rather they are building off of it. They are creating their own, separate image that is crafted in the same style. It’s so refreshing to see my fears allayed like this. It has gotten to the point that I fear listening to anything claiming the Norwegian scene as influence because they have nearly all been sad carbon copies. Not so with Horrenda. The music and sound have definite call backs to their forebears but Horrenda is not content with recreating a tired old image. They are setting off on their own path.
Horrenda’s lyrical content is unique. It’s a blend of a political platform, an informative one at that, and a look back at the mythology and history of Ireland itself. To paraphrase what a friend told me once “Irish mythology is ripe for black metal.” And he was right, Horrenda proved that.
Neronian Times is the band’s third demo, having come up in February of this year. There is an improvement in the overall quality of the sound in Neronian Times from the other demos, Horrenda is getting closer and closer to truly finding their sound, their image. That is something most bands never really find, despite being signed to major labels and putting out album after album. They have a long way to go, but they are on the right path with Neronian Times. The vocals are reminiscent of Burzum, but Darragh’s are superior, holding more power and more emotion than Varg’s. The music itself shows craftsmanship and thought. It’s not just a bunch of riffs that sounds cool together, there is a natural progression that makes the songs sound good, rather than sound cool. While the production needs some work, that is something that happens over time, this is a demo so you can’t expect it to sound like Marduk yet. I look forward to listening to what Horrenda comes up with next.