Horrendous – Ecdysis (Dark Descent Records)

Wednesday, 17th September 2014
Rating: 8/10

Just take a moment and gaze upon what might just be the coolest cover art of the year. Seriously, that’s the type of thing that you frame on your wall! With such a cool cover art to present Horrendous’ second album, there is a certain pressure to deliver the goods. After all, one can always just go and buy a killer picture if that is all that is what we are looking for. Thankfully, Horrendous does not disappoint.

Another example of how to use, instead of abuse, the old school death metal sound, Horrendous prefer to kick back mostly Swedish-style without feeling like a shameful copycat. Instead of sliming up the guitars with thickened Swedish crunch, they opt for a more tasteful approach that retains the needed heft while giving the band a breath of fresh air. Speaking of fresh air, the lead guitarwork here simply smokes! Much of the soloing wouldn’t seem out of place on a NWOBHM album but they make it work, providing some exquisite soloing (“Pavor Nocturnus”). There are also two instrumental tracks that offer a quick change of pace. “The Vermillion” is an acoustic piece that harkens back to vintage In Flames more than anything in its greatness, and “When the Walls Fell” raises the ‘80s NWOBHM with all it’s glory. Not to detract from the death metal riffage, as tracks like “Nepenthe” and “The Stranger” bring the groove-laden and addictive punishment that old school death metal fans demand and cherish.

An album that is certainly more than meets the eye (not to mention the eye-candy cover), Ecdysis may have the guise of “yet another retro death metal album,” but this is a band that has done their homework. Highlighted by some gorgeous guitar work, this is another reason to weed through the crowded mob of old school death metal.

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