Horrendous - Ecdysis
Dark Descent Records
Melodic Death Metal
10 songs (43' 54")
Release year: 2014
Official Label Bandcamp
Reviewed by Andy

Pennsylvanian melodic death metal outfit Horrendous is fairly new -- their first LP came out two years ago -- and yet they punch well above their weight with their latest album, Ecdysis. I call them "melodic death metal" despite the fact that they consider themselves devotees of the old school in early 90s death metal, just because all of their songs have melodies to them -- and good ones, too. The resulting album is an inventive concoction of different death styles that is enjoyable all the way through.

The first track, The Stranger, starts things off on the right foot by being one of the best on the album; this beautiful, sad song is a joy to hear. The sadness comes partially from doomy riffing they use at the beginning and end of the song, which erupts quickly into death metal fury after the initial slow parts, but even the fast parts, honed to a cutting edge with melodic solos slicing through the muscular riffs used throughout, have an existential sorrow to them. Despite their stated old-school influences, this piece is much more melodic than any of those influences ever attained to, a pattern that remains in place throughout the album. Weeping Relic is a bit more by-the-numbers as a death metal song until it gets about halfway through, where the band takes a break for a solo that only makes the last portion even more devastating. Interestingly, although the whole album is distinctly melodic, it still stays firmly grounded in older death metal in a way that most melodeath diverges from; yet even tracks like Resonator, with verse riffs that remind one very much of Asphyx (one of their influences), switches from the sour to the sweet when it comes time for soloing, and as the song comes to a close, the riffs match the shrieks of the vocalist (either Damian Herring or Matt Knox, both of whom take on the guitar and vocal duties).

This is a band that puts the songwriting first and the technical work second, and is all the more likable for that. The Vermillion gives a break with an acoustic instrumental, but its successor, Nepenthe, is a wild stomper with a ferocious melody, giving way halfway through one of the solos to random, echoing feedback noise before coming right back to a disciplined, plodding end to the song. When the Walls Fell is another instrumental, without any death metal influence but a lot of traditional NWOBHM in its two-guitar attack, while the final track, Titan, takes us back to a slower song that only occasionally speeds up, the sound of a solemn choir coming in on the last part of the song.

This is a nice solid album if one likes to hear the melodic side of death metal. If you're looking for something old-school and brutal, it's not going to fill that need, but I enjoyed the melodies and it's definitely more than just a clone of past melodeath greats, especially when listening to The Stranger, which alone makes it worth listening to.

Bandcamp: http://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/ecdysis.

Killing Songs :
The Stranger, Weeping Relic, Resonator
Andy quoted 87 / 100
Other albums by Horrendous that we have reviewed:
Horrendous - Anareta reviewed by Andy and quoted 84 / 100
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