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A promising debut… I really mean it! - 70%

oneyoudontknow, August 3rd, 2007

For the open war is the title of this record, yet were it be used for such purpose, the battling would be a modest and gentle one, with some small violent eruptions, but never spreading into a greater clashing of armies. Carnivore Horde is not one of those Black Metal bands combining aggressive and ultra-fast playing riffs with a glorification of war themes, although even their music tends to switch to higher tempi now and then. With eighteen minutes, their first demo has a good length and offers five tracks which range from three minutes to about four-and-a-half. No long interludes, keyboard parts or ambient torment can be found on this record, as Carnivore Horde concentrates on the basic elements of the Black Metal genre and does no try to sound modern or cheesy in any way. In some extent the demo has been at least in some respect being influenced by the Death Metal scene, especially due to the existence of a bass [blasphemy!] and the production on the whole. Yet this impression is not reflected in the songs themselves; their style is clearly Black Metal, even though some growling vocals have been used, too.

A demo shows a band at a certain step of evolution and Carnivore Horde is not different in this respect. The songs vary in style, have their own atmosphere and are clearly distinguishable from each other. Especially the last track Death Riddle is different in its own way, as a clean voice is used, hence leading to a folkish atmosphere through this. Does this reflect the path they will head towards or was it just an idea that has found its way on this track? Do not misunderstand me: it works to some extent, although it has its own special note in this album, but incorporating it to a greater extend has been done by an uncountable number of bands and thus is has become an inflationary touch. Most of the album is dominated by two different vocals, a growling and a screaming voice. Both are quite well performed and switch from one to another; the title track is good example of why this can work neatly with its gapless turning from one style to another. Even though the line-up merely consists of merely one vocalist, he is able fill his given role, yet it might be interesting how he will solve it live and if he is really able to give both of them enough power.

Surprisingly good are the compositions, and the musicians offer quite a good deal of nice played and number of riffs. Indeed, I have not expected this, especially as I paid for the release no more than two Euros and spent more money in the past on releases which turned out later to be utterly shitty. In contrast, Carnivore Horde is really able to grab my attention through the whole length of the record. Not that a correlation between price and quality is necessarily given, though a lot of releases receive a way to high attention due to the membership of a certain musician or promotion by a famous underground label. Anyway, the tracks offer mostly mid-tempo riffs, with some eruptions into faster regions of the genre. Breaks are used, but scarcely and a little bit more would be better, but on the other hand, there is the danger that the songs drift off into a more technical region of the genre. The guitars play some nice, though solid riffs; perhaps their style would be more easily recognizable if the production gave their sound more volume.

Odd and strange is the bass-line with its often way too slow plays, while the rest of the band reaches for mid-tempo or even faster regions. It does not really fit in some songs and as the production is rather transparent and well done (for a demo), there is no other instrument which would plaster the bass-line. Hence it is recognizable and disturbs the atmosphere to quite a good deal. The reasons for choosing this particular style of tempo in the bass remain hidden. Carnivore Horde should prevent this discrepancy from occurring on further releases. Instead, the bass should be given its place in the music, rather than being a non fitting counterpoint.

The release surpassed my expectations. Here you get more value for money than you might expect and I see no reason why people should avoid buying this record. Yes, there are some small flaws, but they are plastered by the quality of the presented music. The songs could be longer, especially as they are too linear in the compositional approach. I miss somehow the complexity and variation, as both would enrich them positively. Speaking of the length, the tracks do not end abruptly, but still at a point at which the listener might expect some more. Beyond all the criticism, I am quite pleased with the record and recommend it to those who are fond of mid-tempo Black Metal, with a touch of old-school without copying it.