I was impressed with the 2012 debut release, ‘The Chills’, from East Coast death Metal trio Horrendous, consisting of Jamie and Matt Knox and Damian Herring. It still gets a regular airing from me but follow-up release ‘Ecdysis’ does more than just pick-up where that release left off; the degree of progression from the debut release to this is remarkable.
HORRENDOUS – Ecdysis (Dark Descent Records)
Words: Jools Green
‘Ecdysis’, a forty-three minute ten track release of well thought out compositions that musically are a brutal mix ranging from thrashy riffs to skull-crushing grooves, superb swathes of guitar work carve through the tracks, enhanced by well thought out and executed drum work, strong bass lines and wonderfully tortuous rasping vocals culminating as traditional style death Metal with subtle Swedish overtones.
I have no favourite tracks; this is end to end good listening, beginning with the slow building ‘The Stranger’, the album monster at a whopping seven minutes which has a haunting repeat riff that really gets under your skin, a tempo that changes throughout and superb, haunting, closing guitar work.
The tempo is up for ‘Weeping Relic’ and there is a definite Swedish feel to parts of this track, midway before a ramp up in the tempo and also afterwards, you are treated to some superb guitar work. The heavy pounding rhythms of ‘Heaven’s Deceit’ are punctuated by haunting guitars while ‘Resonator’ opens on an almost militaristic rhythm and has a hint of the “diabolical” to the riffs between the more frantic paced elements.
The album contains two instrumentals, the thought provoking ‘The Vermillion’ and ‘When The Walls Fell’ where the bass adds a wonderful underlying groove to the excellent guitar work.
Slower and more deliberate to open ‘Nepenthe’ ramps up to a fast tempo and repeat riff and after a poignant pause the tempo changes to a more reflective one with distant haunting vocals to the close. ‘Monarch’ has a superb haunting guitar opener before a rise in tempo with chugging riffs between which, the pauses are punctuated by rasping vocals.
On ‘Pavor Nocturnus’ the extended dark haunting opener, followed by a build that spirals, is just superb. Closing track ‘Titan’ opens with a slow distorted edge subtly punctuated with subtle bass and drum work building with the arrival of the rasp rich vocals, the two extremes of this track are superb, one minute dirty and almost doom laden, the next, full tilt and in your face before dropping away again.
The album was recorded, mixed and mastered at Subterranean Watchtower Studios and the cover art for the album was done by Brian Smith.
The production is very careful, polished enough to give a good result yet leaving enough rawness to keep that classic edge.
If you are a fan of Asphyx, Hail of Bullets or similar you should find this a fascinating listen particularly from the vocal perspective, there’s a certain reminiscence of Martin van Drunen in the sound and that can only be a good thing. ‘Ecdysis’ is overall an excellent listen.