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Wire to motherfucking wire! I am shocked that the first album I previewed in 2011, and also awarded as the first Bleeder of The Month, managed to stay on top of my favorites list AND also stayed in heavy rotation in my various listening units for the entire year. Truly amazing. Listen to it and you’ll soon figure out why if you haven’t already. (11/22/11 – CM)
This post is a re-print of my “Albums To Fuck Your Face Off” selection from way back in January.
Updated note – No less of a Black Metal aficionado than Philip H. Anselmo gave this one his seal of approval. While chauffeuring Philip around downtown Austin in my car during SXSW, he asked me what I was listening to at the time. I popped this one in and he immediately grooved on it so much that music fans walking on the Sixth Street sidewalk spotted him and began yelling at him while he continued to enthusiastically bang his head. He made sure I made him a copy before he left town.
Are there times when you just want to strip away the niceties of everyday life, flush away any remote sense of decorum, and turn off your brain? How often do you wish you had time to throw back a multitude of pints, curse out your God-fearing neighbors, and cause undeterred rampant chaos? Sometimes it’s best to revert back to your cavemanic id, and if you need a soundtrack to accompany your civil disobedience, listen no further than veteran Danish black thrashers Horned Almighty’s newest collection of instigation, Necro Spirituals.
These devil punks, led by former Exmortem lead singer Simon “Smerte” Petersen, referred to within HA as simply “S,” unleash unrepentant blackened thrash with runaway locomotive precision — in other words, it’s all-out thrashing chaos with minimal florid distractions such as no grandiose keyboard flourishes, no alt-crowd approval seeking operatic female voices, or any of the other recent trademarks of overblown black metal. HA harkens back to the days of early Floridian-based death metal mixed in with the best punky bits of Darkthrone, combined with some Impaled Nazarene for good measure. We’re talking the Motorhead of black metal — aggressive guitars, straight-ahead drum pummeling, and one-note guttural spews that incite and never bore. Mix in a little Shout at the Devil-era Motley Crue (that’s a good thing, believe it or not), early 21st century Satryicon, and long-forgotten British punk metalheads Rogue Male for additional spice, and you have the first true album of 2011 that will indeed, fuck your face off.
The highlights of Necro Spirituals are many, from the title track, a punchy punk-influenced metal bash that brings to mind pain, pits, and piss; “Fountain of a Thousand Plagues,” a thrashier amped-up treat reminiscent of To Mega Therion-era Celtic Frost (with a beautifully sloppy solo to boot); to the ever-changing tempos of my favorite cut on the record, “In Jubilation and Disgust;” to the one-two slow, sludgy, doom feast knockout punches delivered at the end of the record in the form of “Blasphemous Burden” and “Absolved in the Sight of God.”
Necro Spirituals is the black metal record for metalheads who don’t like black metal. It avoids the trappings of many of today’s bloated symphonic BMers and unapologetically goes straight for the throat. It goes a step further, ala A Serbian Film, and continues the cranial consummation through each additional facial orbital — eye sockets, nasal passages, and, most importantly, ear drums. And you will beg for more.
Necro Spirituals was originally released in Europe last October (2010). It will be released in the United States by Candlelight Records on January 25, 2011. (Review first appeared 1/16/11)
Corey Mitchell is a best-selling author of several true crime books and is currently helping Philip H. Anselmo write his autobiography.
Review first appeared at MetalSucks on January 16, 2011 by Corey Mitchell.
This version appeared on my Top 15 List on December 1, 2011.
Wow, this album is pretty damn sweet. Rocking punk-ish black metal? Please, sign me up. "Necro Spirituals" is another release from Denmark's Horned Almighty, a black metal band that proudly burns and churns with corrosive viciousness much like their counterparts, but these guys have no problem kicking you between the legs just to prove a point. Like a smashed nihilist the gentlemen of Horned Almighty proudly vomit a repulsive mess of sickening black metal that smugly fornicates in the slimiest, grittiest, nastiest remains of punk's rotten corpse until the unholy juxtaposition bubbles into the profane result that is “Necro Spirituals.” It’s loud. It’s offensive. It’s vile. And I want MORE!
Horned Almighty wastes no time jumping into its sinful torment with the title track, a punk-coated rocker jammed full of hellish growls and smoldering attitude. The thirty-five minute quickie copies this simplistic formula, and the band seldom drifts away from the punk-tinged bombardment, but who cares? Horned Almighty makes up for it by beating the piss out of everything in sight. It's actually pretty cool how they balance tremolo riffs with Motörhead-ish hooks that are only slithers apart, somehow making the twisted equation work to their advantage. It just goes to show that song writing doesn't need advanced logarithms to look fancy; sometimes you just need some fun.
Every track is a gold calf in its own way, but the riffs throughout "Blessing the World in Pestilence" are easily the best part of the record. "Fountain of a Thousand Plagues" rules as well, continuing the flaming impression the album's opener birthed with killer riffs and a beat that'll make your neck snap. "Blasphemous Burden" and "Absolved in the Sight of God" bring a slower tempo to the devastation, yet still involve infernal mayhem through the absolute misanthropy. The production is polished and booming, but it fits the band incredibly well. That's really all that goes on, but wow, what more can you ask for, really?
“Necro Spirituals” is unapologetically primitive and gruesome. More pissed off than an enraged bear and nihilistic as hell, Horned Almighty has no problem throwing black metal’s ass on a meat hook and flaying it with a leather-studded claymore glimmering with an undisputed attitude of impending death. These Danes are masters at what they do; not a single moment goes by when the nine-track slaughter seems even a trifle boring. The bombing never fails to totally bash in humanity’s face until its skin becomes ash and nothing remains but a bloody, messy pulp of gore. “Necro Spirituals” kicks a bunch of ass, and you’d be an idiot to miss out on this diabolical jaunt.
This review was written for: www.Thrashpit.com
The punk-as-fuck Danish black metallers Horned Almighty are back with another round of intensely Norwegian sounding beer-fuelled Motörhead-ian extremity on "Necro Spirituals" and as would be expected from such a style the result is raucous and enjoyable yet hardly life-changing in it's facade. My only previous experience with HA amounts to the purchase of 2006's "The Devil's Music - Songs of Death and Damnation" on vinyl cos the cover is bitchin' yet I'm not sure to this day it's been treated to more than one spin so I may as well be a mere new-comer to their belligerent attack and attune to their grimaced menace accordingly.
Not unlike literally thousands of other acts HA borrow significant stylistic influence from the heralded Norwegian BM acts of the early 90's with Darkthrone in particular being the key cog, which with an unhealthy dose of Impaled Nazarene turns a system of gruff fast unsophisticated tunes into 36 minutes of easily digested BM fare. It is not until final two tracks "The Blasphemous Burden" and "Absolved In The Sight Of God" that the pace drops below 4th and 5th gear, just in time to show they are no one trick-pony incapable of anything but all-out speed, but it is alas earlier tracks "Sworn Divine Vengeance" and "The Age of Scorn" that best typify the beast that is Horned Almighty. Possessors of a chunky, heavy death metal-tinged production ala ImpNaz the spirit of BM lives on in Horned Almighty as 'S''s bellows rings out atop the decently-performed riffs in "Foundation Of A Thousand Plagues" and the aforementioned "Absolved…", but searching for any deeper meaning to what is offered through all of these is as unnecessary as searching for Justin Bieber's testicles - you're unlikely to find any.
As a second, or perhaps even third tier BM album "Necro Spirituals" is a fine listen and a nice counter-weight to most of more progressive, transcendental stuff I tend to get wet in the knickers over these days; a good result I might add in the crowded fields of blasphemous black metal.
Originally written for www.Rockfreaks.net
I don't often like to use the term 'fun' to describe a black metal band, because it might imply that the band is somehow less serious or sinister, and truly that is not the case for the Danish torture squad Horned Almighty, who write some of the most ripping, hardcore and rock influenced material in the genre. Stoked heavily on the influence of Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, Bathory, Darkthrone, and so forth, they continue to polish their hideous blades to a fine edge, picking up straight where they left off with the excellent Contaminating the Divine, and invoking a puerile jubilation so uncommon in the genre. Yes, Horned Almighty might kick your ass like a pack of excitable teen wolves at a Hell kegger, but they still kick your ass, and isn't that what counts?
Upon my first listen through Necro Spirituals, I wasn't wholly impressed, but I attribute this to my then-mindset rather than any flaws in the composition. The second time through, I slapped myself silly for this failure, and with each subsequent spin, I found myself in that same grip of tension and excitement that I submitted to on the prior year's excursion. Black, punk thrashing mayhem does erupt here, dynamically and quite often, as the Danes crash and careen through 9 tracks in 36 minutes, never wasting your time with any excess ballast or filler. Many such bands like Aura Noir prefer a more raw, understated approach to this hybrid that creates a morbid nostalgia for the records of the 80s and early 90s, but Horned Almighty spit in the face of this convention with loud, abrasive production values that could be appreciated by a number of audiences. Thick, knotted basslines and ripping, simple chord patterns collide with Smerte's hellish, demon-branded throat.
This is black metal for skin heads, punks, thrashers, or those emboldened, grim ghouls unafraid to come out of the damn basement for a street fight, perfect for inebriated or heavily drugged evenings of excess and knife dancing. Horned Almighty will hit you hard with blasting, thrashed and doped up inertia as found in the "Age of Scorn" or total mother fucking "Fountain of a Thousand Plagues", or teeter off into a more potent, lethal Bathory pace in such blasphemies as a "Sworn Divine Vengeance" or the cunt hammering of "Blessing the World in Pestilence". However, there is a deeper level at play, like the carnal black grooves and methodic, swerving bass lines that dominate "Absolved in the Sight of God", or one of my favorites, the urgent barbarism of "In Jubilation and Disgust", but I can't find fault in anything the band have concocted here.
Necro Spirituals rocks, and while it's perhaps not better than Contaminating the Divine, it thrives upon the same playing field. Considering the great sound this band is able to produce, and the stew of riffs offered in a constant bombardment that unifies their cult influences with a broad and modern sledgehammer, it's a shame that more people haven't taken notice. Perhaps this is the effort that will see the end of their morning star rising, but exploding across the faces of a million, hot Satanic lava raining upon the steaming cesspools, alleys and asylums this band seems to inhabit. I am often moved by black metal music, some times deeper than others, but there's something to be said for a band or album that comes along and actually have a good time without losing any sinister luster, and Horned Almighty are a cadre of baying street wolves that take a tire iron to the prevalent and pretentious attitudes, curb stomping them into red haze.