Monday, October 24, 2011

Horn of Valere - Blood of the Heathen Ancients

I'm a USBM booster. You got heavyweights like Xasthur, Inquisition (yuh i no they're Colombian but I'm countin em), Absu, Agalloch, Leviathan, Averse Sefira, Weakling...You also got your upstarts Petrychor, Fell Voices, Falls of Rauros, those Black Twilight Circle bands (which are shutting shit down at the moment) and dozens more I'm forgetting. Even adjusted for some of the more lulzy outfits (WITTR, Liturgy, Nachtmystium), USBM has a pretty impressive body of work. WTG USA!
Horn of Valere are a Rhode Island concern who flex their kvltitude with a blurry metal-archives photo, are they/aren't they NSBM song titles (e.g. ...of Pure Blood), and a band name based on Robert Jordan novels.

In spite of being on Deathgasm which, notwithstanding Blaspherian, suffers from the chronic inability to release anything remotely resembling good music, Horn of Valere's Blood of the Heathen Ancients is an entry in USBM's back catalog worthy of your consideration.
HOV's read of BM is of the Darkthrone/Bathory variety with a strong punk undercurrent throughout. Heavy on melody, light on bass, full of galloping passages meant to evoke battles of yore or whatever, this record would sit comfortably alongside Transylvanian Hunger and maybe Black Thrash Attack.
Listening to Blood of the Heathen Ancients a few years back, I remember the drumming in particular jumping out at me. They sound like they've got access to too many splash cymbals and decent hardware to be certified-authentic-BM but it works here, providing color to songs that might otherwise be tedious.

Speaking of tedious, several songs feature what sound like placeholders where the band meant to stick a guitar solo overdub but ran out of studio time. I'm not talking about the Burzum-hypnosis effect; these are just mid-tempo retreads of 4-5 power chords. If you're like me, you'll find this charming. Then, on track 5 when they do remember the solo, you get a completely woozy effort intended to build tension via the e-bow (I think) which has no place in metal unless you're While Heaven Wept.

Apparently back in 05 HOV was set to play a show with Inquisition and Bloodstorm in Philly but some rumors of NSBM connections (HOV opened for Grom at some point) led the venue to cancel. Reportedly, this was a total bummer. Does anyone know if that show was really gonna happen? Where the fuck was I? My last big night out was Outback Steakhouse and Moneyball with my old man.

Blood of the Heathen Ancients
is a study in dichotomy, with moments of technical precision via bulls-eye drumming embedded in an overall unpolished punk M.O. (see feedback-squall-and-drumstick-countdown-intros). FULL SUPPORT.

I think that's a Darkthrone logo tee over on the far right there, which makes sense.
The guy next to him def. over-dressed for the photo shoot.



Anonymous said...

Can someone tell me what's good about Weakling? I really don't know.

DoomUnicorn said...

I can't tell what's good about them besides the fact that their album fucking rips. They're notable because they appear in conversations about West Coast Black Metal's origins.

FetidStnch said...

I hate that about Deathgasm. They dudes who run in are super cool dudes but the shit the they spew makes me wonder. I got some good discounts when they still had their store at Swayze's up in the A.

RyGar said...

Error 404 on the download link. Please re-up this.

DoomUnicorn said...

Whoops...I linked out to somewhere else. Should work now.

RyGar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.