Horrendous – Anareta (Dark Descent Records)

Tuesday, 6th October 2015
Rating: 8/10

Sometimes being the media darling can be a double-edged sword. Take the case of Horrendous, whose 2014 release Ecdysis was showered with praise. Such accolades can help, but if the following effort is a dud, one can go from being a darling to a pariah. But let’s not worry about that one, as Anareta is an equally solid showing to Ecdysis in just about every way.

Truth be told, there’s not a big leap from Ecdysis to Anareta. But some things have been altered for the better. The band’s ability to bring in melodies and progressive tones is an almost immediately noticeable improvement. Sure, there were plenty of excellent melodies last time around, but Anareta really pushes them further into the mix, giving Horrendous more distance between themselves and the rest of the old school movement. The instrumental “Siderea” is so catchy, it borders closer to old school Gothenburg than say, Florida. Equally highlight-worthy is “Acolytes,” which shines for its seven minute runtime with an endless supply of insidiously catchy riffs, and ending on a starkly melodic one. Or there’s the infectious NWOBHM-inspired melodies of “Stillborn Gods” that practically bounce. Clearly, Horrendous knows their melodies. They also have a keen ear for production, and again the bass shines brightly through the mix.

Horrendous’ best asset is undoubtedly their sense of knowing what works in the genre, and being able to infuse it without sounding dated or uninspired. There’s plenty of death metal out that that happily apes the members’ favorite bands without a bat of an eyelash, but not Horrendous. Anareta stands as the mark that this is a band that is all too eager to provide a breath of fresh air into a stagnant genre to make their mark. A rare band seemingly worthy of the hype – their next album could be a true monster.

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