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Horde of Hel – Likdagg - 30%

Asag_Asakku, July 17th, 2012

It happens that some albums leave me perplexed. I listen to them multiple times (sometimes a painful exercise), but I still cannot understand what the band’s intentions were. It happened with Likdagg, the most recent album from Horde of Hel. This band, composed of members from several other established groups, works within a confusing musical register. Playing a slow and sticky black metal crossbred with some industrial sounds, band members claim (judging from their MySpace) to establish a “dark and unhealthy, hateful and elitist” music. Quite a program…they also published a statement supporting all the dictators of the world in their fight to eradicate the human race. If Horde of Hel's music was at the height of their bombast, we could all be afraid. But don’t worry. This is not the case.

Rarely has a black metal album bored me so much. Not annoyed, bored! A banal album runs out of steam normally after three or four songs of average quality, but to become dull after two minutes, I think that’s a world record. Opening song Herren Tid knocks strong at the outset with some saturated and scary sounds, but the tempo begins to slow down after two minutes and will not get faster often throughout the next forty minutes. Smartans Vapen gives a better illustration of what this album is all about: mid-tempo, drawling voice, and atmosphere steeped in distortion. In short, it's a style already heard a thousand times before and mastered by the Ondskapt crew. Several small ambient interludes intersect the album. They seek to create a sense of oppression and discomfort, but the result is unconvincing. These passages are particularly unpleasant and add nothing to the whole. The only really interesting song, Forintelsens Floda, has a quicker rhythm and better harmonic structure, but this is the exception. And quite honestly, I found nothing interesting to say about the last seven songs. And believe me, I tried!

This kind of disk tends to reinforce my impression about the overall quality of Swedish black metal gradually declining over the years. There are always some pillars that hold the torch, but most average bands seem to regress to mediocrity with ease. Likdagg is an album that exudes a lack of creativity and inspiration. Its authors may well claim their elitism and their hatred for mankind, but it is certainly not with their music that they will bully anyone. 3/10

Originally written for Métal Obscur.

Junk - 27%

GuntherTheUndying, June 27th, 2011

I think generic black metal pisses me off more than anything, and this is pretty much a perfect slice of what it means to rehash the scriptures of pedestrian black metal. Horde of Hel hails from Sweden and "Likdagg" is the band's second album. That's really the only interesting thing about the group. Yea Sweden is pretty exotic, I guess. Two albums? Well, that's one more than one. Good thing I paid attention in school. But you desire an analysis of "Likdagg?" This is going to hurt both of us, you know. "Likdagg" is more of a chore than a listening experience overall, standing at a thirteen-track album spread across an hour of doorknob-humping black metal. Somewhere beyond the wall of distortion, thuds and screams, there is a band, but their music is so haphazard and one-dimensional that it doesn't really matter.

A powerful presence within the guitar work is simply nonexistent. Here's what you get: basic tremolo picking and roasting, middle-speed riffs. Both fibers are actually quite common in black metal, so there's no problem with the postulate itself. The execution, however, could put an insomniac in delta waves by the fourth track. The percussion hits harmlessly too; just moving around in the plodding cycle that is "Likdagg." The production makes the juxtaposition of instruments and techniques a jumbled pile of sounds, and trying to disfigure the riffs which hide behind the clattering drums and wailing vocals is simply an unacceptable task for the listener.

They also try to fuse a few ambience/sample tracks into the dump of regurgitated black metal, but it turns out to be very pointless and annoying. Minute upon minute of random, buzzing noise? Wow, how nihilistic and hateful! Give me a break. "Likdagg" basically captures and glorifies the essentials of tedious black metal. And there isn't anything important latching on the side of "Likdagg." Not a single riff, pattern, song or philosophy breaks out of the mediocre film covering this drawn out staple of fourth-rate black metal. This is the definition of powerlessness in music; overall a very tepid and forgettable release.

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