Released: 2012, Thrash Corner Records
It’s been almost a decade since we reviewed a Hortus Animae album here on Metal-Rules.com however, in all fairness the band has only put out one more album since then in 2005 and it has been pretty quiet since then. Back in 2008 their label at the time put out a box-set with all sorts of things, a shirt, a mug, a DVD and so on. Now in 2012, on another label the band has released the same basic set but a bit more streamlined; namely just the music. The new release is called FUNERAL NATION MMXII and is re-mastered for your listening pleasure.
Hortus Animae is an Italian, progressive/symphonic/Black Metal band and they have only put out three albums to date. This two disc set runs over 2.5 hours and has pretty much everything the band has ever done on it.
Disc One is their most recent album THE BLOW OF FURIOUS WINDS. It’s a great record and shows the progression of the band from a more straight ahead Black Metal act to incorporating a few more progressive influences and sounds and more clean vocals. They lean a bit more towards a gothic and an industrial sound, but only just enough shades to keep it interesting. My favourite track is probably ‘The Virgin Whore’. The album finishes off with a trio of cover tunes, an obscure one by Queen, one by Dead Can Dance and a third which is most interesting. Originally appearing on the second album, the band do an absolutely superb medley of Mayhem’s ‘Freezing Moon’, ‘Terzo Incontro’ , by the 70’s Italian prog group, Il Baletto Di Bronzo and Mike Oldfield’s most famous work, ‘Tubular Bells’. What a bizarre mix but it works beautifully.
Over to Disc Two, tracks 1-6 are the rare 2000 debut album THE MELTING IDOLS. From the very beginning on the opening cut ‘Luciferian Twilight’ the band showed enormous promise with a moody mid-paced that that suddenly (around the 4:30 mark) turns itself on it’s head for a speedy guitar driven end to the song that is laced with acoustic piano. Great stuff! Track 7-14 is the WALTZING MESPHISTO album from 2003, minus the cover medley, which I previously mentioned. The sequence is a bit weird…3rd album, 1st album, 2nd album, I would have tracked the songs in chronological order or descending order from most recent to oldest, but that’s just me.
If you are a big fan of the band and have everything they have done this set may not hold much value for you. If you maybe wanted to get the box-set but didn’t want all the other stuff, this is a cool place to start. I hope that this set will re-ignite the career of this excellent band. If not FUNERAL NATION MMXXII is a nice nail in the coffin. The band is on hold but seems to have morphed slightly into the newer project Martyr Lucifer, which has several ex-members of Hortus Animae. Feel free to check out my review of Martyr Lucifer this month as well.