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Tengan, May 27th, 2013

The Tampere black metal scene with bands like Sargeist, Behexen, Horna and Satanic Warmaster has been one of the world’s most vital during the 21st century. Last year Behexen really upped the ante for the entire scene with the monumental ‘Nightside Emanations’. So do Horna pick up the gauntlet thrown and step up for the challenge?

Well, the answer is both yes and no. Except for the Bathory-esque ‘Sotahuuto’ Horna has left me fairly unimpressed in the past. The music on ‘Askel Lähempänä Saatanaa’ (roughly One Step Closer to Satan) however shows the band stepping up a notch. The drumming is tight, the vocals haunted with agony and the production suits this type of black metal very well. Shatraug’s atmospheric riffing is the true standout of this album though giving it a good flow and a, for lack of better words, groove, especially during the slow-tempo parts of this otherwise high-paced album.

What is truly lacking however, and a necessity for this type of black metal to reach the greater glory, is memorable choruses. This causes the songs to somewhat blend in with one another and the songs where the riffs aren’t over the top masterful come off as fillers making the album seem too long. Although, it grows slightly with each listen.

In summary, this is a fairly solid piece of black metal unfortunately lacking excellent choruses. The mood and atmosphere of the music however, shows Horna journeying on an interesting path for the future.

Choice cuts: Kunnia Herralle, Kuninkalle; Kärsimyksin Vuoltu Hänen Valittuna Äänenään; Pala Tai Palvele

Performance: 8 out of 10
Originality: 7 out of 10
Production: 8 out of 10
Vocals: 7 out of 10
Songwriting: 5 out of 10

Summary: 6 chalices of 10

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