Saturday, February 5, 2011

Horna

Finnish orthodox Black Metallists, Horna, have released quite a few records but it is Kohti Yhdeksan Nousua that stands out as the pinnacle of their most blackened expressions. It is a very efficient work that encompasses all Black Metalisms in a scant half hour run, blast beats, mid tempo headbanging riffs, melodic tremolo picked hooks, harsh vocalizing... They have logo that incorporates goats, inverted crosses, a pentagram, a three 666s, and even a candle. The thoroughness of Horna alone is enough to make them interesting, but they actually sweeten the deal with great songs and atmosphere. You may see it as generic, I see it as perfection. If you have a friend who has never heard Black Metal and wonders what it is about, Kohti Yhdeksan Nousua serves as a fine primer.

10 comments:

dubmixt said...

great fucking band

Meatbreak said...

I think that Sanojesi Aarelle is their pinnacle -though if they'd reduced it to justthe one disc it may have even moreimpact - of that album Liekki Ja Voima is the highlight, by far. Which to me, means it is their greatest ever piece and one of THE essential tracks for Black Metal. if soemone asked me what BM was, that would make my list of examples.

which is to say - I haven't heard this album of theirs, so thanks for posting and I'm intrigued to hear how it compares since you hold it in such high regard.

MxBx

Owen said...

Awesome! I like Horna and don't have this album. Corvus has another project that's more atmospheric called Korgonthuras that's pretty good.

Anonymous said...

Great album. I've always especially loved the final 1:21 of "White Aura Buried in Ashes".

Eindb44s said...

thanks for the primer :) hehe

nano247 said...

i could have sworn i had this in my library, but aparantly not, so thank you for the UL

Anonymous said...

Agreed - solid album that references numerous standard BM conventions.

Is it crazy to think that _Nordic Metal - A Tribute to Euronymous_ captures that original moment better than any other single album? The first track, by Abruptum, doesn't really fit into the genre but it's hard to find anything more expressive of the aesthetic that early bands were reaching for - indifferent, crushing, inhuman. Even the artwork on that album rivals iconic images used by Darkthrone, Immortal, Emperor, and other bands who created the template in the 1990s. And the rest of the music just kills on attitude, variety, and an awesomely punk energy of discovery, while somehow retaining sonic and thematic coherence.

Maybe it's bad form to pick a compilation in answer to the question "what is the most representative black metal album out there," but I'd take _Nordic Metal_ (already posted on this blog - cheers) over any single release by the 1990s originals (bands) or supergroups like Borknagar and the Emperor/Enslaved hybrid which released _Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk_ and _IX Equilibirum_.

Final thought - will _Nordic Metal_ be remembered as watershed of the same order as _Never Mind the Bollocks_, _Bad Brains_, or other snapshots of regional sounds (London punk, DC hardcore) which came to define entire international musical genres? Only death is real ...

Anonymous said...

Great early one there. My fave is still Ääni Yössä with the 20+ title track trasher tho'. (jon hordes)

dirtnap said...

always a huge horna fan, but hadn't heard this one yet. also a huge sargeist fan, and i think that band may have surpassed horna in quality.

Anonymous said...

Numerous listens later - hate to belabor the point, but from :25 to 1:52 or so this horde is at the pinnacle of their game, musically, and even so they're barely touching the Enslaved, "Loke" track from our beloved _Nordic Metal - A Tribute to Euronymous_. Yet w/similar guitar steez & esoteric references (orks vs. Norse gods, a draw in my book).

Look, this is straight up the best music blog, period. And, for what it's worth, this is coming from someone who's cared about black metal as the new punk since at least '96 - not the earliest by any means, but early enough. So what Horna do .... how do we talk about it?

The late 1990s "new" in BM was, without sounding too obsequoius, the sound pioneered by bands like Agolloch and others who took the muted production of otherwise horrible bands like Gehenna seriously as a statement against the staticky grind & excessive shrieking of (how else to talk about this) outright or borderline NSBM music as it was being practiced by Marduk, Burzum, and other frightened teenagers who somehow couldn't get down with either Immortal or Bethlehem - polar bears or depression.

But seriously Aesop - how can you promote (and regardless of the detachment, it is promotion given the esteem in which this blog is held by many) so many Texa-European Stormfronted wannabes when it's clear through your writing and recording that you understand "the scene" primarily thorough a sense of history and eclecticism which so many of its self-professed devotees lack?

We're aging, man. We have kids & all the rest. So why countenance - in any form, way, or means - the reflexive denials of the young? To stay "trvvvvve"?

To put it another way - Horna are, on balance, totally boring, predictable, and pretty sub-par even in terms of their crypto-aggression. And the music you record isn't. What gives?