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Horde: Hellig Usvart (remaster)

Long considered the first ever Christian black metal album, 1994's Hellig Usvart was Horde's response to all the Satanic black metal coming out of Norway at the time. Listening to Hellig Usvart, you'd hardly be able to tell the difference between this or any album of the time by Mayhem, Darkthrone, Emperor, or Burzum, unless you actually read the lyrics, which all deal with Christ's longtime battle with Satan. Horde, like Burzum, were really a one-man project, in this instance that man was Anonymous, who played all the drums, guitars, bass, keyboards, and sang. Basically what you get is raw, primal black metal, with strong, screeching vocals, raging blast beats, relentless tremelo picked guitar riffs, and the occasional spooky keyboard effects. Though some of the songs tend to sound alike (a familiar characteristic of much of the early black metal scene), tunes like "Silence The Blasphemous Chanting", "Behold, The Rising Of The Scarlet Moon", "Release And Clothe The Virgin Sacrifice", and "Thine Hour Hast Come" really are strong representations of the early Norwegian black metal scene. Christian based lyrics or not, this is powerful, extreme stuff here, and really amazing when you think that one guy pulled this all off. Anonymous' vocals on "Invert The Inverted Cross" and "An Abandoned Grave Bathes Softly In The Falling Moonlight" are quite chilling, and rival any of the best black metal shrieks in the business, plus this dude could play some mean drums and come up with some effectively cold riffing.

The bonus tracks are from the first and only live show that Horde played, many years later, 2006 in Oslo, where Anonymous and a few other notable musicians from Norway, ran through a set of songs from Hellig Usvart. These tunes are about as well recorded as you'd expect, and the band plays with plenty of ferocious power. Metal Mind, as they always do on these Nuclear Blast reissues, have sharpened up the sound, but not too much considering that you want the overall effect here to be close to the original recordings, and housed the whole thing in a bleak looking digipack complete with lyrics and a little history of the band. Good stuff all around, and if you are a black metal fan you'll want to add this to your collection.

Track Listing
1. A Church Bell Tolls Amidst The Frozen Nordic Winds 01:02
2. Blasphemous Abomination Of The Satanic Pentagram 00:47
3. Behold, The Rising Of The Scarlet Moon 03:22
4. Thine Hour Hast Come 04:06
5. Release And Clothe The Virgin Sacrifice 05:38
6. Drink From The Chalice Of Blood 03:59
7. Silence The Blasphemous Chanting 05:37
8. Invert The Inverted Cross 03:10
9. An Abandoned Grave Bathes Softly In The Falling Moonlight 05:10
10. Crush The Bloodied Horns Of The Goat 02:24
11. Weak, Feeble, Dying, Antichrist 03:33
12. The Day Of Total Armageddon Holocaust 01:44
13. Behold, the Rising of the Scarlet Moon -bonus live track 03:28
14. Thine Hour Hast Come-bonus live track 04:09
15. The Day of Total Armageddom Holocaust-bonus live track 03:55

Added: July 19th 2008
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Metal Mind Productions
Hits: 2976
Language: english

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