Horned Almighty – World of Tombs (Scarlet Records)

Wednesday, 27th August 2014
Rating: 7/10

Although their appearance doesn’t suggest as such, Horned Almighty are the right band for street-level, vintage black metal. Meaning, their assembled influences (who else but Autopsy, Bathory, Darkthrone, and Hellhammer, right) are able to translate in this current climate with updated production and occasional punk rock swagger. Details like this were rather present on their 2012 opus Necro Spirituals, which wasn’t exactly a head-turner, but wasn’t a stinker, either. The same applies for World of Tombs, the band’s sixth full-length, and first for Italian indie, Scarlet Records.

Like its predecessor, World of Tombs benefits from a searing, top-rung production job. The Danes if anything, have come to master the art of playing dingy, soot-riddled black metal, just with better sounds than the rest of the un-clean and mean gang. Therefore, it’s heads-down and fists-out during the more fierce portion of the title track, and “Plague Propaganda,” a song that would suit early 00’s Marduk as well. Being that the band’s riff assemblage and dynamic scope isn’t as broad as one would like, the apparent limitations found on “In Torture We Trust Part II,” and “This Unholy Dwelling” suggest that Horned Almighty may have progressed as far as they can already. But if we want put on the ‘ole rose-colored glasses, Darkthrone has been purposely regressing the last decade, so maybe Horned Almighty can make a similar run.

With little to wrack the brain over, World of Tombs comes and goes as it pleases. It certainly has no shortage of those lean, sideways black metal riffs that generally pop up out of Europe, yet the overriding notion here is that Horned Almighty come across as being a little too comfortable in their (diabolical) skin, and if there’s one thing black metal shouldn’t be, it’s comfortable.

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