Thursday, November 24, 2011

Horna - Herran Edessä (2009)

Herran Edessä - 15 Vuotta is a very interesting E.P. in that it was done to commemorate Horna's 15th anniversary and saw the original line-up reunited to record two new songs. Released in October 2009, and limited to 500 copies, this 7" demonstrates just how much this band meant to those that created it. Though three of the four had moved on to do other things, this was significant enough to bring them back together. It is quite a fascinating concept and one that is not often pulled off with success. The end result is sort of a window back in time, to the band's earliest days.

In keeping with the overall theme, the sound is very much a throwback to those times, being rather muddled and under-produced. The percussion is distorted to the point where it interferes with the guitar riffs, at times. The guitars, themselves, have a fuzzy tone that lacks much power but suits the material just fine. The clarity of such later releases as Envaatnags Eflos Solf Esgantaavne is absent here. It is not clear whether or not the necro sound was intentional, or if it was due to the band just using someone's home studio to bash out a couple of tunes. Either way, it works within the context of the release.

Musically, it has much more in common with Hiidentorni and Kohti Yhdeksän Nousua as opposed to Horna's later efforts. This is very raw and primitive Black Metal, with nothing added. The ugly riffs, primal drumming and grim vocals combine to take the listener back in time, a bit. It must be said that Nazgul did a much better job here than one might have expected and seems to fit in better than Corvus, as difficult as that is to say. The songs feature a decent amount of variation in tempo, making sure to avoid being one-dimensional. However, the tracks do not break any new ground for the band, which is probably the point.

Recorded especially for a gig that celebrated the band's 15th anniversary, the purpose of Herran Edessä was to pay homage to the band's formative years and to serve as a treat to longtime fans. This is not essential, unless you are a devoted Horna fanatic that must collect everything that they release, but it is definitely worth checking out.