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You know, listening to this album as a whole it has a strangely unique but at the same time familiar sound. I couldn't nail it down at first, but then it hit me. What's in store for the listener on EESE is a solid mix of early Mayhem with early to mid era Gorgoroth. So, while the whole thing seems really gritty and raw like some of the clearer versions of the Deathcrush tracks from Mayhem (think the sound of the Deathcrush release itself, or the Medio Lanum Capta Est live recording of these tracks and you'll have a base sound), you'll notice they also blend a good deal of melody akin to the really epic moments on Gorgoroth's Pentagram or Antichrist. Combine that with occasional moments that are as brutal and basic as the aggression on tracks from, once again, Deathcrush, and Gorgoroth's Under the Sign of Hell and you'll have a pretty good idea of the dynamics of this disc. Indeed, Horna probably spends more time with mid-tempos and luscious melody through-out most of the disc, it isn't without its down-right raw and nasty side either. Adding to that rather grim natured sound is Corvus's vocals which are pretty raspy and high-end sounding, though nowhere near as annoying as say Hat on Pentagram or the vocalist on Behexen's first two LPs.
As you may or may not know, EESE comes in at least two versions; a CD which boasts a slightly better sound quality at the expense of a hand full of extra tracks, and a double LP version which features 13 total tracks (with the exception of the CD's bonus/final track). After hearing both, I wouldn't necessarily want to pick one over the other, BUT, it is pretty apparent that the CD boasts a more distilled and concise quality track-listing. I suppose it just seems that everyone of the tracks on the CD is hit after hit, each with their own mood and pace. After a while, the double lp tends to drag on, though it is obvious that there are some real gems there that only reveal their true glorious essence after repeated, in-depth listens. It's a tough call, but I'd say on initial listen the CD wins out as a well written and accessible piece of raw, modern Finnish black metal. The LP is clearly for the die-hard Horna fan, bm purist, rarity collector, or anyone that appreciates a special release from a band which gives the listener a rare glimpse into a side of their prolific dark souls that is most eerie, disturbing, and highly rewarding.
I'm glad to have both as different moods call for different versions. If you're new to Horna, definitely stick with the CD first as its some of Horna's best material ever recorded and is just long enough to keep the casual fan satisfied throughout its entirety. If you can't get enough and really hunger for more of the black metal found on the CD, the LP is certainly worth tracking down (at least in mp3 form, which should be a lot easier to come by). All in all, Horna couldn't really do any wrong during this whole period of recording that they did and I believe even some more songs may have been recorded during the EESE session(s) (which would be found on other splits or EPs that are also worth tracking down). I would argue the Viha Ja Viikate EP and the split with Tenebrae In Perpetuum either came from that same "session" or were done in a very similar ilk, and stand out in the Horna discography as well as EESE does (Vuohipaimen sounds close but lacks the same oomph). Anyways, Horna wins my vote with 85%... and with that, the Finnish troupe is certainly worthy of checking out with this release.