without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Horna is a band known for being exceedingly productive. Over the years, the number of mini-albums and split releases, filling the gaps between proper full-length recordings, has gone beyond the output of many bands with three times the tenure. The Perimä Vihassa Ja Verikostossa E.P. was one of the earliest such efforts, released by Oskorei Records in May 1999. This particular collection of songs came near the end of the band's first phase and is far superior to the L.P. that followed.
The early years of Horna saw a band that had not yet, fully, come into its own. While there is no doubting the high quality of their records, they were often highly derivative of some of their contemporaries or, more frequently, bearing a strong resemblance to the classic albums of the Norwegian black metal scene. Shatraug's songwriting bordered on genius, at times, but was still held back by conforming to the trends of the day (one example being the random use of clean vocals on the previous full-length). Only after finding his true musical voice through the outlet afforded to him by the early Sargeist material did he truly mature as a songwriter with his own unique style, somewhat that soon bled into Horna as well.
Perimä Vihassa Ja Verikostossa is a very solid release, and much preferable to the abomination that is Sudentaival. The spirit is still more Norwegian than Finnish, at times. One is reminded of bands such as early Emperor, Satyricon and Enslaved (especially on “Haudanusva”), throughout the five tracks that comprise this E.P. The use of keyboards, however minimal, only strengthens this effect. The songs are very dynamic, for the most part, with varying paces found in each composition. Shatraug's trademark style can be noticed, from time to time, though still mixed with Nordic influences. Despite this, the music that is presented here does well for itself, to such an extent that songs like “Verikammari” are still played live to this day. It may be the standout track, if nothing else than for the morbid feeling of doom that it conveys. From slow, creeping riffs to mid-paced sections reminiscent of old Bathory, to fast-paced parts that sound like something ripped from Transilvanian Hunger, this tune encapsulates the early period of Horna's career, very well. That is not to say that this E.P. is defined by this song, alone. Every one, from “A Ring to Rule” to “Ghash Inras” leaves its mark and all of them are quite memorable from the very first listen.
The production is not as over-the-top and slick as Sudentaival, yet it is nowhere near as grim as the typical sound of the band's later output. It is somewhat thick and full, with the guitars possessing a decent amount of power and serving as the true focus. Nazgul's vocals are a little buried, but not anywhere near as much as can be found on Hiidentorni, at times. The overall sound-quality is probably a bit more healthy than most of the band's other releases, in that turning the volume on high does not result in hours of ringing in one's ears, afterward.
This should please any Horna fan, and would not be a bad starting point for those only somewhat familiar with Finnish (or Norwegian, for that matter) black metal. If you can get your hands on Perimä Vihassa Ja Verikostossa, one way or another, do so. For those that ignore limited releases or only go for full-length records, you are definitely missing out. While many bands might phone it in for split releases and the like, Horna is nearly always consistent, regardless of the format. Buy with confidence.
Written for http://ritesoftheblackmoon.tripod.com
Perimä Vihassa Ja Verikostossa is the best yet in a series of obscure Horna recordings being re-issued through Frostscald Records, a storm of an EP which ghoulishly cleans up the carnage left behind on the battlefields of Kohti Yhdeksän Nousua and Haudankylmyyden Mailla, the band's first two cult status full-length albums, back when Nazgul (of Satanic Warmaster and a hundred other projects) was handling the vocals with cringe inducing, grim splendor and Gorthaur was bludgeoning along on the drum kit. It was originally only about 23 minutes long, but this release includes the bonus title track, which was lifted from the band's rare split with US black metal band Fog, so it saves a little trouble in having to track down that piece.
Here, Horna muster their characteristic monolith of suicidal and warlike sound, taking clear queues from the Norse and Swedish masters like Bathory, Immortal, Emperor, Burzum, and Mayhem, and channeling it through a dynamic if predictable slurry of songs that range from the majestic, middle pacing of "A Ring to Rule", to the scathing holocaust of crude force that is "Haudanusva", to the doom-laden mires of "Verikammari" and "Ghash Inras". This is an entirely raw recording, of course, like the wealth of the band's work, and you can hear the tones ripping at the edge of the envelope like so much overload, but I still feel that the instruments are clear and present enough that it shines with a savage elegance. The bass is loud and bombastic, the drums live and fresh, and the vocals entirely beautiful and sadistic, while the guitars just rip your fucking heart out and leave it on the field of the dead for any straggling survivor to stamp into paste. Seriously, Shagrath's tone here just reeks of destruction and terror.
Assuming that you don't expect the sweeping ballast of symphonic keyboards, or even a faint trace of progression, you should be alright with what Horna had whipped up here. I enjoy this small collection of tracks nearly as much as the early full-length efforts, and the 8 minute bonus track fits in extremely flush with the rest; with a crushing, epic fortitude of some undead juggernaut that promises decisive death and plague wherever it rolls. Finnish black metal has of course exploded since the 90s, but here you've got a taste of one of its most enduring legacies, that of Shagrath, herald of foul taste and purgatory for all those who follow his voracious march into one of the most thorough discographies in the entire genre. Sure, individual tunes here might not find major mileage against some of the full-length material, but its worth having if you appreciate the untainted, primal pulse of black metal's circulatory system.
Horna's "Perimä Vihassa Ja Verikostossa" EP is a not-so-good EP. Oh sure the music is good and even at times great, but the sound production really brings it down to a bare minimum. When I mention the sound production, it's completely absent. Very dry. The instruments are clear as daylight, it's just there no bottom end on either the drums or bass. There are even parts where the sound production completely changes from an acceptable form of rawness to a tin can-like production. It's like they went to 3 or 4 different studios for different songs.
Now the songs presented here are good. We see Horna at a point where they are able to get past their more simple roots as shown on their killer fucking "Hiidentorni" demo. Shatraug has definitely been doing his homework but Nazgul's vocals...what the fuck happened to them? Some parts it sounds like he's about to attempt at sounding like Dani Filth! There are certian parts that I almost had to turn off because his vocals were fucking ear-grating.
The two best songs on here are "Verikammari" and "Haudanusva" where it shows progression. The rest have so many nuances going on for them it's a bit hard to listen to them. I mean, listen to that horrible fucking blow-out of noise on the title track "Perimä Vihassa Ja Verikostossa" are a clear case of Nazgul and his annoying vocals on "A Ring To Rule"...need I mention the different sound productions?
One last plus about this EP is the artwork. It makes up for the 3 songs. I know, I know...for a lot that doesn't add up, but as one of the main rules in my book on liking an album is that most of the time if the artwork is right, it can make or break an offering from a band. Although it doesn't make this EP worth having, it's still good. This EP is really and truly for Horna die-hards only in the sense of wanting to own everything they have put out.