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Funeral Nation MMXII is a collection of Hortus Animae’s discography, including their releases The Melting Idols; Waltzing Mephisto; and the band’s final full-length The Blow of Furious Winds. As this is such a large release I figured the best approach would be to talk about each of the individual albums and give them their own rating, followed by a few closing words. So, let’s take a look at the band’s debut The Melting Idols which apparently never had a proper release.
The Melting Idols is a peculiar release, so peculiar in that I agree with the categorization of the band as progressive black metal. On this album Hortus Animae throw quite a lot at you, with a good amount of symphonic elements and acoustic segments, however all throughout the band unleash some mighty riffs the likes of which retain more in common with heavy metal as opposed to black metal. There are of course blasting black metal-style sections. The performances are great and there are some quality lead guitars for all the shredders out there. The vocals aren’t the strongest aspect of the band, they’re rather high-pitched and tormented, although alternated with some lower death growls and the odd clean vocal passage. On the whole I found The Melting Idols to be quite an interesting release and well worth a listen for the more open-minded black metal fan. Tracks such as "The Bless of Eternal Bleeding" and the massive title track stand out amongst the rest, good stuff! 70%
Waltzing Mephisto is next up in the collection, and immediately I can notice a step up in quality in both the songwriting and the production department. The vocals are also better developed here. Hortus Animae’s cool riffing style remains largely intact, and I’ve seriously got to commend the band for this aspect of their sound. The symphonic elements in the band’s sound are further realized on Waltzing Mephisto as well, to the point where the band would be classifiable as a symphonic black metal band. For the most part this album outclasses the debut, although there are a few fruity moments which keep it from being really good. The finer numbers here worth checking out would be "Enter", "Welcome the Godless" and "Springtime Deaths". 76%
The final album before the band went on hold, The Blow of Furious Winds, may be the most complete of their albums. This also actually opens up this collection, taking up the majority of disc one. Everything here is just that little bit better, little more refined, the melodies are that little more memorable and as a result I’d have to say this was the strongest Hortus Animae release. It’s the longest of the band’s releases too, but surprisingly I wouldn’t say there was much in the way of filler minus the cover songs. Overall a quality symphonic black metal release, boasting quality riffs in spades and a good amount of catchy moments. 80%
On the whole I would say that Funeral Nation MMXII would be a wise purchase for anyone interested in the symphonic black metal style. The release is very complete, and also features bonus cover tracks for fans of the band. There’s no reason to seek out the individual albums now as almost everything they’ve done is included here, and the vast majority of it is quality. Well worth picking up.
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