Finland's Horna delivers everything that's expected from a "true" black metal band. With a raw, distant production that really requires a lot of patience to sit through this almost 50 minute disc, Envaatnags Eflos Solf Esgantaavne is an album of some awfully long songs completely devoid of melody, but rich in endless screaming, shrieking, and howling. Because the booklet is so "kvlt" that it is even impossible to read the lineup let alone the lyrics, the singer shall remain unmentioned. He has a thin, tortured voice and loves to scream through all the pieces with little to no variation employed. A bit like the classic Darkthrone records, his screams are raw and almost hurtful.
Though their US label The End describes them as "an excellent mix of underground raw black metal and folk elements", I didn't really hear any folky stuff. No acoustics, no Nordic chanting, and no Ulverian Bergtatt or Kveldssanger type of stuff either. The songs all let out ultra-fast tremelo picked guitar runs over ringing snare and drums, and an ocassionally pulsing bass drive. The rhythms are often steady from start to finish and played through deliberately thin-sounding guitars. Thankfully, on some songs, such as the "Vala Pedolle" easily eclipsing the the eight minute mark, they shift from the monochromatic aggression-filled, mindless fast riffage to a brief calm section that allows the cold atmosphere make itself visible. The guitar work on "Kirous ja Malja" is a much welcome breath of fresh air, but may piss the "true" black metallers off for actually carrying an epic melody. (Remember, anything that remotely resembles a melodic harmony discredits an album from being black metal.) This one is a short piece though and it's just the way the guitars are played. "Saastainen Kaste" features some interesting chord changes and dissonant moments that are quite enjoyable. However, the most melodic number is "Kuoleva Lupaus", where thick harmonies are blended with ferocious black metal elements. This is followed by the icy instrumental "Zythifer", featuring some great twin guitar work.
The CD booklet contains silly band pics of two guys wearing corpsepaint and texts that are no where near legible. If that's what Horna wanted to achieve, they got it. Even as a big fan of black metal, this disc simply fails me, but will have big appeal to fans who enjoy raw and grim Darkthrone production with American bands trying to recapture the mid-90's black metal movement, to no avail.
- Vihan Tie
- Musta Temppeli
- Vala Pedolle
- Kirous ja Malja
- Saastainen Kaste
- Kuoleva Lupaus