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I just got a bunch of promotional releases from the Italian label called Black Tears and I knew straight away that among all of them the first one, which I just need to listen to, would be the newest release from Horrid. To those of you, who don’t know this band, let me just say that they may actually be my favourite Italian death metal band from the old times (nowadays it probably is Undead Creep, but I still like Horrid a lot), which was formed already back in 1989 and released an impressive dose of music through the years, of which I definitely like “Reborn in Sin” album from 2002 most. It is a killer piece of death metal, influenced by the Swedish legends… and yeah, you should probably know that Horrid was an Italian answer to the Scandinavian death metal, they even recorded some of their stuff at the Sunlight Studio. So it is quite frustrating and funny that nowadays so many bands repeat the old Swedish style, many got a quick recognition, while Horrid, a band which was doing the same for over 20 years, is hardly known to anybody. Well, maybe that’s because their recent “Rising from the Hidden Spheres” was quite mediocre and wasn’t promoted too well? I don’t know really, but it’s good to see this band coming out from the tomb once more and that they’ve opened the new decade of their existence with the release of “The Final Massacre” – which is a really awesome compilation release.
On “The Final Massacre” Horrid has compiled some of their rarest material, I mean the killer “Blasphemic Creatures” MCD from 1999 and “Awaiting for the Truth” EP from 1996. And on top of that there are four new tracks. Sounds exiting, doesn’t it? Well, it does to me at least, because I know Horrid for many years now and as I already said I really like “Reborn In Sin” album. It is definitely great that Horrid has released “The Final Massacre”, as I never had a chance to hear those two old releases, “Blasphemic Creatures” especially was going to interest me a lot, as it was also recorded at the Sunlight Studio with Tomas Skogsberg.
But “The Final Massacre” begins with the four new tracks. I don’t actually know what do they mean by “new”? Does that mean they’ve only just been recorded or maybe they’re just unreleased from the old days? I’m afraid that while the musical content of “The Final Massacre” is just excellent, then this release really begs for more detailed and better booklet, as the one they’ve done is just poor, with absolutely nothing interesting in it. I keep repeating while I listen to such compilation CDs or LPs that it is just essential to me to also get some detailed stories behind the old recordings, the old photos, lyrics and anything else what would make the whole compilation really complete and worthy. “The Final Massacre” is very poor in that aspect and only the music really saves it from being forgettable. Ha, but let’s go back to the music. There are four new songs on “The Final Massacre”: “Intro / Land of No Return”, “Denied Life”, “Church of Agony” and “Horrid 666”. And I can definitely say, with huge relief, that Horrid seems to be in a great form. Those new tracks are really good. They’re very brutal, very fast, but with many characteristic Swedish riffs or harmonies here and there… I can say that while there is this Swedish touch present in the music of Horrid, then it is slightly faster and more aggressive to bands like Desultory or Gorement. Maybe Horrid sounds like some old Swedish demos, with the lower vocals and rawer, very bassy production? Anyway I can say that those four songs are really good, not the most thrilling death metal I’ve ever heard, but definitely good and promising a very good album. I especially liked “Horrid 666”, which is more death / thrash metal song, very old school and not so Swedish, with very low vocals (the whole sounds almost like someone played the vinyl on 33 rather than 45 RPM hehe).
“Blasphemic Creatures” was definitely the stuff I was most curious about from the whole compilation. And I must say that while it was recorded back in 1999 it still sounds fresh and great, just like “Reborn in Sin”. Both materials are quite similar actually and this is why I like this MCD so much. Oh, I just love that guitar tone, so classic Swedish sound, riffing, vocals… And I don’t care that Horrid was only following what the Swedish bands were doing, especially as in 1999 there were only two or three classic Swedish bands left on the battlefield, mainly Dismember, Unleashed and Grave, while the rest has split up or changed the music (Entombed!!! WHY??), forgetting about their death metal origins so easily. With songs like “The Prophecy”, “Blasphemic Creatures” and “Is God Worthy of You” Horrid proves to be more than just an average cut’n’paste type of rip off band, those Italians really played killer music and I’m very surprised that they never went anywhere further with any of their old releases.
So, to resume I can only say that I’m very glad that something like “The Final Massacre” has been released and such awesome pieces of music like “Blasphemic Creatures” were reminded to the maniacs.
Standout tracks: “The Prophecy”, “Blasphemic Creatures”, “Is God Worthy of You”