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Pretty Damn Good.... - 80%

mjollnir, February 28th, 2017

Germany’s Horn is really the work of one man who calls himself Nerrath. I hate to call this “bedroom” black metal because it seems this is much more than that. As a matter of fact, this is some really good folk inspired melodic black metal. With seven full lengths under his belt since creating this project in 2002, it seems that Nerrath is quite prolific and has gotten some decent reviews from those who have heard his previous work. The latest album, Turm Am Hang, is my first experience with this project and I must say I’m quite surprised. This is an album that has all of the ingredients needed to stand with some of the genres heavy hitters. As with any great album, it’s the songwriting that truly matters and this album has some great epic songs. However, it’s also how those songs flow together that carries a lot of weight with me and this album has both great songs and a flow that carries each song into the next.

One of the biggest things about this album that sets this apart from what I consider “bedroom” black metal is the quality of the production. This album has this professional quality about it that adds to the listening experience. Added with the excellent songwriting of this album you can see how truly special this album truly is “Alles in einem Schnitt” kicks things off and right away you seem to feel the folk vibe. It even has some Sognametal elements weaving it’s way throughout the song. Those melodies make this song really catchy. The vocals are your typical for this genre and are sometimes part of that folk element. They are mostly harsh but there is a clean, almost chanting part in the middle of the song. Although not as epic as some of the songs that come after it, it is an excellent way to get the ball rolling.

The rest of the album sees the songs go into a more epic direction. You can hear elements of Myrkgrav, Mithotyn, early Thyrfing throughout this album, especially on the title track, which is okay with me because I enjoy that sound. “Die mit dem Bogen auf dem Kreuz” is one of the more epic tracks and is my favorite song on the album. Starting off with some slow clean guitars and clean vocal chants this epic riff comes in and sets the mood. Halfway through the song just explodes with epic black metal blasts and killer melodic tremolo riffs. “Bastion, im Seegang tauber Fels” is, perhaps the most melodic on the album and is another favorite as it has many layers that flow together to allow you to just get lost in the song.

The album is not perfect but the only things that I find to be it’s true flaws is the instrumental, “Lanz und Spieß,” which just seems unnecessary to me and is rather annoying to listen to. You will skip it, trust me. “Also, there is a cover of a song by Cedar Rapids, Iowa band When Bitter Spring Sleeps. The song is called, “The Sky Has Not Always Been This Way,” and is an okay song but I don’t think it’s as good as the original songs on this album. It appears that some of the vocals on this song are performed by the person who penned the song Lord Sardonyx.

All in all this album was highly enjoyable to listen to. Even with it’s slight flaws you can’t deny the sheer talent on display here and I’m actually quite curious to hear the rest of this project’s catalog.

The Elitist Metalhead

Honk if You're Horny - 80%

Five_Nails, January 27th, 2017

Horn is the kind of one-man black metal band that many of today's bedroom black metal blasters can take some inspiration and notes from. With the album “Turm am Hang”, which (as aptly illustrated on the cover) quite literally translates to “Tower on the Slope”, the old German mainstay of being as literal as possible is beautifully demonstrated alongside the forthright power of some dead-on exhilarating music. So far the title track is the only single of this album and has a great video of the process of illustrating the cover, but I'm sure that metal fans can easily understand why this reviewer believes there to be a striking series of superb songs on this album that can each be considered hits. Horn's matchless mind, Nerrath, has built a formidable structure, composed a captivating aesthetic, and etched it into an imposing black metal monolith.

The album opens with a violin-led march that drops into a dour long-winded sigh of a guitar melody which morphs into an intoxicating and inspiring intonation. This uniquely frenzied approach is forcibly freed from the fetters of familiar forlorn folk pieces that bridge on banality as they endlessly echo each other. While most black metal accentuates the morose, Horn celebrates the beauty of the melancholy. Riffs revel in dissonant resonance proudly wailing in an anthemic obscurity and drawing the listener into pensive melodies that, in defiance of their frigid arrangements, become inspirational reveries in an upbeat percussive heat with beer hall style harmonic bliss. This is some after-the-battle beer drinking, fist pumping, headbanging black metal that's not all up its own ass about being cold, kvlt, and hiding in a cave. Instead Horn is celebrating another great evening in Valhalla surrounded by brethren in victory or defeat. Horn also lyrically appreciates nature and the forest, a common theme with many of this band's black metal contemporaries. The fury and structuring of each song puts the band closer on par to the likes of Drudkh and Waldgefluster as riffs round out with some Germanic folk and Celtic edges, smatterings of influences that enhance the echoes of fellowship and camaraderie without simply repeating the same stances just so say he went there.

“Verhallend in Landstrichen” is where you will experience the first major turn from a pair of songs that seemingly go their separate ways to a sound that builds an increasing energy flowing forth from the next three songs. As these pieces grow in intensity they keep a common rhythmic core with a correspondence from the treble issued throughout these marvelous four. The high water marks of “Turm am Hang” happen in this series of songs where the chorus in “Totenraumer” is signaled by the toll of a bell, the Maidenesque opening of “Die mit dem Bogen auf dem Kreuz” becomes a headbanging hail to badass black metal, and “A(h)renschnitter” envelopes you in shredding melodies undulating around the robust snare hammering. This is an album that must be played live, loud, and to a very drunk crowd. It would be a privilege to see such a spectacle.

After a short interlude called “Lanz und Spiess”, a delirious and unusual track that sounds like the machinations of a restless mind sleeping off the delusions of the drink, the album closes with two strong but slower songs. Like awakening and setting off to task, “Bastion, im Seegang tauber Fels” wearily marches to a new position, forming up and stretching its martial rhythm in preparation for today's predestined practice. “The Sky Has Not Always Been This” sings of the rise and fall of civilizations, the birth and rebirth that humanity has always undergone while the soil underfoot was tread bare by man's ambition. There is some interesting and well-thought arrangement in these songs, some experimentation with different concepts, and a keen ear for production quality throughout Horn's Turm am Hang”. While most one-man bedroom black metallers would be quick to describe loneliness, Horn creates a unifying atmosphere throughout the meat of this album. This is a welcome difference to the style of this branch of black metal that has carved out a unique notch in the heavy metal Yggdrasil.

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