There’s not hiding it, Horrenda, even with its extremely underground status, is one of my favorite bands, one that I follow religiously. It helps that I consider the lads in the band good friends. Vile Lament has been in the works for some time and I’ve been able to hear bits and pieces of the product as it was coming into being. With each listen, my anticipation grew. Nomad, Cruxx, Outis, and Kevin put a ton of work into this album and the care they took to craft it is obvious. Even though I knew most of what I was going to hear, I was still blown out of the water, enough so that I will stand by what I said about Horrenda, both in sound and in environment, they are very much the Irish Mayhem.
You don’t need to worry about me being impartial, the members of the band can tell you I’ve told them what I liked and didn’t like as the album began to coalesce. Even with my friends, I’m picky and borderline annoying. I have very specific things I want to hear in a depressive black metal band like Horrenda, and since I know what they are capable of, I am even more picky. I know what I want to hear from them and I know where I think they should be. With Vile Lament, they proved to me that they could get where they need to be. They put in hard work in the form of hours of writing riffs, finding the exact right sound, and melding every single element into one cohesive piece of art.
Vile Lament is the first full length album that Horrenda has made as a full band, all the previous releases outside the live album “Redrum Sessions” and the single “Sluagh” have been the brainchildren of Outis. With Vile Lament you can hear Outis’ input as the foundation of the sound but the other lads have made their mark as well. Irish folklore and history is still the main lyrical influence in the band but Vile Lament adds new viewpoints as well, giving the entire album a more rounded feel than the previous album “Neronian Times” (which I still believe will be considered a classic at some point down the road). Vile Lament has a much richer, less grainy feel. The guitars are much cleaner and crisper and Nomad, the vocalist, does his best to live up to the Mayhem comparisons with a surprisingly Attila-esque performance. He doesn’t imitate him but he has the same presence on the album that the legend has on his Mayhem albums. Having listened to a lot of the rough demo versions of many songs I was worried that his performance and power would be lost in the fuzz and feedback of the guitars, but my fears were assuaged when 16 Deadmen started playing. I lost all doubt that this was going to be a killer album.
Horrenda is one of those bands that make me do research to find exactly what they are singing about because, sadly, I’m not as up on Irish folklore and history as I feel I should be (nor is the rest of the world for that matter). I’ve had many conversations with Outis about that very thing. Ireland deserves to be known for more than alcohol and genocidal monks. There is so much more to offer and yet, somehow, we forget or don’t know in the first place what Ireland has. It’s has a wrathful sorrow that can only be found in Irish music (any Irish music be it metal, traditional, or synth). There is a depth to Irish music, especially visible in Horrenda’s choice of content, that people in Ireland and outside of Ireland need to see. Horrenda is doing their part to show what Ireland is capable of, it’s up to us as the listener to hear and see what they are showing us. Take the message to heart and actually think about it (I know that might be hard for some but try). 16 Deadmen is especially sharp in its message “Ireland will always belong to the Irish, and it will until there are no Irish people left.”
While Horrenda’s message is unique in the black metal community in that it makes you think critically about what has been said, they are very much still a black metal band you can bang your head to. The message and the music are complimentary and worth the short time you’ll have to listen to the album, sadly it’s not a long album but all the goodness is packed into 6 songs. Horrenda is a band on the rise. They might not end up being the next Mayhem (which though I compare the two I would be happy with) they will definitely make an impact on the metal scene. Horrenda was the reason I started Resounding Footsteps nearly a year ago and they will be one of the many reasons I continue going as long as I can. Horrenda is the quintessential underground band that scrapes to put together something that will stand out from all the shit that the underground is littered with. Horrenda is that band from your hometown that if you support as much as you can, spread the word, buy the music, and see the shows, will end up seeing their dreams fulfilled. Horrenda deserves it, Vile Lament proves that they are on the right path to glory.
Highlights: 16 Deadmen, Sluagh
If you enjoyed this try: Mayhem (obviously), Rive, I, XeroPulse
Support the artists!