Released: 2014, Scarlet Records
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
For pure black/death ‘n roll malevolence, you’d be hard-pressed to find a band that brings it with the fiendish zeal of Danish miscreants Horned Almighty. Recalling Carpathian Forest or Autopsy, but without the twisted wit and twice the sinister brute force, the band’s fifth album is steeped in blasphemy and misanthropy and delivered in a nonstop barrage of meat-grinding riffs and pile-driving rhythms.
World of Tombs picks up right where 2010’s stripped down and savage Necro Spirituals left off. There’s none of the standard black metal atmospherics, orchestral/operatic trappings or progressive-minded complexities here. These guys simply plug in and unleash hell.
Satyricon have employed this sort of approach with mixed results over their last few albums, hitting the mark with the scathing Volcano and ominous The Age of Nero but whiffing with the dreary Now, Diabolical and ill-conceived commerciality of their self-titled latest. There are no such conceits or ups and downs from Horned Almighty here – although the fearsomely hooky “Plague Propaganda” packs an Age of Nero-like abrasive punch.
At its core, Horned Almighty's grimy, chunky rabble showcases rather simple hard rock/hardcore chords and riffs. But they are played with such vehemence and violence – a la Discharge or Hellhammer - that as catchy as much of the material is, it’s often more frightening than inviting. World of Tombs is consistently, single-mindedly hateful and hard as nails - to the point where it tends to be a bit repetitious, even though I’d probably never tell the band that to their faces!
Fueled by the likes of “Diabolical Engines Of Torment,” the death-marching “In Torture We Trust Pt. II” and “Unpure Salvation,” “World of Tombs” actually seems more of a “world in flames,” as Horned Almighty revel at length of funeral pyres, cleansing fire and burnings at the stake, and the torment or release they may bring – depending on whether you are the sufferer or sufferee. The title track, as well, gleefully regales of “choking the light of life, with the stank of sulphur.” And, fittingly, the digipack bonus track is an incendiary cover of Autopsy’s “Twisted Mass of Burnt Decay.”
Good times, indeed.