Horde Of Hel - Blodskam
Moribund Cult
Industrial Black Metal
14 songs (45:34)
Release year: 2009
Moribund Cult
Reviewed by Goat

Featuring several members of the rather awesome In Battle, Marduk-linked Swedish Black Metalheads Horde Of Hel walk a unsteady line between traditionalism and the future. Enhancing their sound with bursts of Industrial ambience and majestic choirs, it never quite seems to make anything than a snarling rumble, a threatening - but empty - gesture. It doesn't help that the Black Metal elements themselves are decent yet underwhelming, the sort of thing you've heard many times before - I'd sum this up as Mysticum meets Dodheimsgard, overall, lacking the former's uncanny brittleness and the latter's Avant-Garde skills. Of course, Mysticum are the unhailed inventors of Industrial Black Metal and Horde Of Hel are a long way from measuring up, yet the likes of Born Again Into Submission do bring the Norwegians to mind, dark and angry traditional slabs of Black Metal enhanced with distorted vocals and beats so fitting with the Black Metal dogma that they fit in perfectly. Where the album truly succeeds is with the sheer devotion to the Industrial elements - tracks like Hail Chaos are far beyond interludes, Industrial soundscapes given equal billing with the actual Black Metal in a combination that makes for a fascinating listen in places.

Alas, all too often we're faced with meandering bursts of bile like The Glory Of Massmurder, anything but original and heard a million times before. There are highlights if you listen for them, Dödens ära being one nastily grooving piece that touches on Funeral Doom, Living Abomination's mixture of beats and suicidal ambience another. Few Black Metal fans will fail to be touched by the pulsating darkness of Visdomen Kallas Döden or the Kholditz groove of Domen Mot Människan, but all too often songs meander and go nowhere. It's hard not to criticise as well that the band have packed the tracklisting with three-minute pieces when this style is simply crying out for a good ten-minute crawl through filth that might elevate Horde Of Hel to comparisons with The Axis Of Perdition. I wouldn't be surprised if the band rethought their approach and created something truly revolutionary with their next album; this is a debut, after all, and there are certain to be ideas which would come across far better given time to grow. There is a lot to recommend Blodskam, but it limps where it should stride, and ultimately is enjoyable for fans of the style but doesn't do enough to serve as anything other than an average depiction of a subgenre which, like the deformed exhibits at a freak show, increases in popularity the more out-there and horrific it is. Horde Of Hel make an effort, but the Joseph Merrick that you're looking for is, sadly, engaged elsewhere.

Killing Songs :
Born Again Into Submission, Dödens ära, Visdomen Kallas Döden, Död Naturens Val
Goat quoted 63 / 100
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