Total Time: 01:07:34
Label: World Terror Committee
HORNA is not only one of Finland’s most recognizable Black Metal bands, along with SARGEIST and BEHEXEN, but also one of the most respected bands in the Black Metal genre with an impressive discography (EP, split and full length). The dark musical vision of Shatraug, who in 1994 at the age of sixteen founded HORNA, will be transformed sonically two years later with the release of their impressive debut album “Kohti Yhdeksän Nousua”. Since then the hype of the band will be explosive, because of their quality releases, but in the last decade the mediocrity of their material has caused a great deal of frustration to their fanbase, a feeling that the Finns are dispersing this year with their new record «Kuoleman Kirjo”, which marks their massive return.
HORNA’s new album is just over an hour and is their second longest-running album since the amazing “Sanojesi äärelle”. It is true that when I first saw its duration, carried away of course by their modest work in recent years, I did not have any expectations whatsoever for its musical quality. Fortunately and with great pleasure, the Finns have proved me wrong as their new release can comfortably be considered as one of their career’s best work, with the new rhythm section by LRH and VnoM adding a fresh touch to their new blasphemous creation.
Musically, their traditional Finnish Black Metal sound returns at its best, combining “frozen” and aggressive riffing along with some melancholic melodies, which swirl in a dark, almost occult atmosphere emerging an almost demonic analogy and plunging the listener into bleak soundscapes, while maintaining the barbaric Black Metal character of the compositions. The album is one of the richest in variety during the band’s career, as in the songs there is a balance between aggressive, slow and atmospheric mid-tempo parts , while its majestic sound is “painted” by Spellgoth’s menacing, abyssal vocals. The production is flawless, without being too clear, highlighting the exceptional multi-faceted character of “Kuoleman Kirjo”.
HORNA return with their best full length release since “Sanojesi äärelle” (back in 2009), offering us an album which, during its seventy minutes, does not have a single mediocre, dull moment. “Kuoleman Kirjo” could be described as a more streamlined version of the band’s first two albums “Kohti Yhdeksän Nousua” and “Haudankylmyyden Mailla”, while the riffs of Shatraug and Infection highlight a thoughtful, contemplative side of HORNA without escaping their classic Black Metal sound of the 90s.
Editor: Nikos Manousis
Related Link: HORNA – Facebook Page