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Hortus Animae
Waltzing Mephisto
October 2003
Released: 2003, Black Lotus
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: JP

The good people at Black Lotus have sent us a number of new releases and I am going to do a little focus on four releases on this veteran Greek label. Enjoy the reviews (Bullethole, Enshadowed, Hortus Animae, Naer Mataron) and don’t forget to check out our Black Lotus contest in our contest section. The answers to the trivia contest are found in these reviews so read all of them carefully and enter for your chance to win a CD from Black Lotus!

Well look who we have here! An Italian gothic death/black metal band with none other than ol’ Grom (Ancient, Doomsword, Pyschorder) on the drums! This is the bands second release the first being an indie album called THE MELTING IDOLS. The Italian tendency to mix many classical styles and sounds into music is very relevant here, the band even refer to themselves as ‘The Satanic Orchestra’.

Musically this four piece playa challenging and complex brand of blackened, death metal with gothic overtones…progressive death? It is very cool nonetheless with many, many different sounds and instruments that you might not normally here on this kind of disc. They are more complex and diverse than Cradle of Filth who seem to be an obvious influence. Lots of keyboards!

Grom keeps the drums blazing along at a fast pace when necessary and the vocals of Martyr Lucifer switch between a rasp, a whisper and the traditional black metal shrieks.

The guitars are there but at times seem to take a back seat to the keyboards in many songs. An interesting point is a cover tune, not one but three kinda of mixed together an odd medley of a classic piece, ‘Tubular Bells’ and Mayhem’s Freezing Moon! It is a very neat idea as not too many bands do cover medleys and make them sound completely different, almost like Savatage in parts with the acoustic piano and guitar interplay.

The packaging is nice, lots of photos, lyrics about the usual dark and devil-inspired topics, photos of the band in masks or face-paint or top hats, white shirts and the occasional naked chick as well. Good production, nice mix decent sound but I would still like to hear a touch more guitar in places. It would be a shame to see this neat band who are trying to do something a little different go unnoticed.
Track Listing

1. Enter
2. A Lifetime Obscurity
3. Springtime Deaths
4. Souls of Cold Wind
5. Welcome the Godless
6. Freezing Moon including Terzo Incontro and Tubular Bells
A Feeble Light Of Hope


Martyr Lucifer-Vocals, bass
Shred Blast Hypnos-Guitar



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