Who was it that said metal (be it black, death, or whatever) was required to bear some deep-as-the-abyss edifying message so profound the listener forgets about what’s blasting from the speakers and turns into a damn philosopher? Who says the record you just put on absolutely has to have some mob-inducing, politically-charged undercurrent that motivates the torch-lit storming of city hall? What the hell has ever been wrong with the idea of a band getting the job done with bruising sound and “no fuck is given here” attitude alone? Who says sheer black metal power isn’t more than enough to reduce your “friendly” neighborhood church congregation to ashes where they stand? Furthermore, what could possibly be stopping anyone reading this from bearing witness to a prime example of black metal supremacy that answers all of these questions in a true, boot-to-the-face fashion?!
Spawned from Danish streets in 2002 under the sinister gaze of founding members S. (vocals) and Hellpig (bass), Horned Almighty was originally envisioned as a side project. Through a small series of demos and EP’s, their first live performance (sharing the stage with Dismember and Carpathian Forest) and their 2004 debut full-length, Black Metal Jesus, Denmark‘s hellish kicked all those who dared to doubt squarely in the teeth. Now a quartet, the band has continued to carve their name into the black metal history books ever since. These guys take the traditional aspects of black metal and throw in a little something extra. And no, I don’t mean lull-me-to-hibernation symphony arrangements. Don’t expect to hear any out-of-place keyboards here. It’s like Roddy Piper’s character says in John Carpenter’s classic horror/sci-fi flick, They Live. Horned Almighty have come to kick ass and chew bubblegum…and they’re all out of bubblegum.
Equal parts thrashing Motorhead attitude and a fierce vibe reminiscent of the likes of Goatwhore and the faster ditties from Satyricon‘s discography, Horned Almighty’s latest and fourth full-length, Necro Spirituals (Candlelight) is a nine-part offering of catchy, raging black metal artillery that does nothing but unapologetically explode full-force in the face of today’s metal mainstream. The title track (easily a highlight) opens the album with screams and bells surely tolling the listener’s demise before kicking the pedal through the grim and frostbitten floor with an almost punky, head-banging abandon complete with memorable riffs and chorus alike. Numbers like “Fountain of a Thousand Plagues” and “The Age of Scorn” crank up the fury meter even closer to inferno temperatures. “Blessing the World in Pestilence” opens with a whirlwind of riffing and percussion that would make Lemmy proud of these corpse-painted misfits. Meanwhile, another definite highlight, “The Blasphemous Burden” takes things in the opposite direction where speed is concerned. Slow and ominous in its lethal step, the song features vocals in league with those of David Vincent on Morbid Angel’s “Where The Slime Live” before blasting the listener into oblivion once again, courtesy of drummer Harm’s relentless battery.
When all was said and done, this record made it damn hard for me not to jump from my chair, drenching myself in beer in utter bliss. For the record’s thirty-five minute duration, I had just about forgotten about the cruel, anti-human ice storm currently ravaging my neck of the Midwest woods. But thankfully, I didn’t forget it…and Horned Almighty’s Necro Spirituals has just provided a great soundtrack to the glacial chaos at hand!