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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

The Horde

Thy Blackened Reign

Review by Mike Korn

Thundering across the plains of Western Illinois comes The Horde, spreading terror with axes and flame. Here is a metal band that doesn't mess around and takes no prisoners. Inspired by tales of barbarians and beasts, they churn out an aggressive, raw sound that mixes aspects of thrash, death and epic heavy metal into a finely tuned weapon.

The Horde immediately proved their worth with their debut From Empire To Ashes but on Thy Blackened Reign, everything is kicked up a notch. The sound is harder and meaner, the choruses are more memorable and the production is clearer. Plus the cover is awesome! That image in itself tells you all you need to know about The Horde.

Those brave enough to seek out this raging disc will be well rewarded with a banquet of red-hot steel!

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Death Foretold

This first cut has a raw and hungry sound to it, but it’s still rooted in classic metal. Duncan's snarling vocals avoid the excesses of death and black metal but still come across as mean, mean, mean! He gives a great voice to the band and this cut is a fine introduction to their style.

Thy Blackened Reign
A raging blast of barbaric thrash, this will sure clean your sinuses out with a powerful jolt. It’s just a 100% killer tune, with awesome epic riffing on the chorus. Also check out the insane lead soloing! I can already speak to how much of a live favorite this one is.
Hell Beast of the Pale Frost
Here's another powerful epic bruiser, slightly slower, but still packed with fury. The structure kind of reminds me of a cross between High On Fire's sludgy sound and the epic medievalness of Omen. The guitar solo here recalls a ‘70s hard rock touch, with plenty of wah-wah.
Odin's Blood
It doesn't take much imagination to envision blood-thirsty Viking berserkers laying waste to their foes with this rager blazing in the background. The shouted chorus is tailor made to yell during a show...or battle, as well! The twin guitar melodies definitely bring Iron Maiden's classic period to mind.
Into War We Ride
This one has a very "martial" sound to it, with a hint of the Celtic. It's a fast and powerful song with terrific double bass drumming, but not quite up to the standard of the previous tunes. The chorus has a very awkward sound to it that's not quite right, but I do dig the slower, sludgy riffs in the middle of the tune.
Super Tusk
Relating the story of a monster razorback on the rampage, this might be my favorite tune of the set. It's not a million miles away from the title track or "Odin's Blood" in construction, but you've got to love a song that includes the term "nightmare swine" in the lyrics. The power of The Horde's riffing is just undeniable and the drumming here flattens everything in sight, much like the "Super Tusk" itself.
War God
A really low and ominous bass riff kicks this off. This is a more mid-paced stomper with a stalking feel to it.  The pace occasionally picks up to a fiery, Maidenesque gallop, leading to an exceedingly strange chorus. The last third features another assault of twin guitar melody and some stoner inspired lead soloing. This is quite the epic.
A Kingdom Cries
This brief instrumental is a sad sounding piece combining electric and acoustic guitar into a medieval lament.
Vengeance for a King
To make up for the previous mellowness, this comes hammering in like Thor's own mighty mallet. Furious headbanging is sure to ensue when the grinding verse riff kicks into gear. This tune follows the classic Horde pattern. Duncan's vocals are again outstanding, really transmitting the anger of the lyrics. He sounds like he's out for blood!
With Death (Comes The Horde)
The album wraps up with this very thick and heavy tune, which starts with sludgy power riffing reminiscent of High On Fire at their most barbaric. Like most of The Horde's songs, this throws a lot of tempos at you, from doomy to frenzied to almost elegant. There's a cool and unexpected bit of jazziness in the middle of the song that surprises and shows these dudes might have a few tricks up their sleeve.
 
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