Author: Jan Jakobsen
Label: Dark Descent Records
Trying to follow up from last year’s excellent LP, Ecdysis is far from an easy task. Many in the scene regarded it as one of the better death metal albums of 2014, and 2014 had a lot of great death metal releases. Ecdysis may not have reached the same height as Dead Congregations Promulgation of the Fall, Morbus Chrons Sweven or even Artificial Brains Labyrinth Constellation, but it was sure as hell a very solid album. Now, only a year later, Horrendous is releasing Anareta, the highly anticipated follow-up. This is their third album in only four years so it is clear they are hardworking people.
Now, on to the album itself. It plays as a direct follow up from Ecdysis, that’s for sure. The production is similar, the vocals are still very harsh, akin to Chuck Schuldiner on Scream Bloody Gore, but I think the biggest difference is how incredibly melodic Anareta is. It feels like a mix of The Red in the Sky is Ours era At the Gates and 90’s Death, where there are some progressive elements here and there, but the focus on melodic riffs is the main focal point here. The solos are as well highly melodic and it seems like they are well thought out. One of the things I find very interesting about Horrendous is the fact that they utilize two vocalists, which makes for an interesting listen. They’re used in different parts of songs, depending on who they feel is most fitting on that particular track.
Anareta starts with The Nihilist, where the two main riffs alternates throughout the entire song, with some excellent melodic parts in between these riffs. There is also a very strong, melodic guitar solo in the midst of this song. Ozymandias is a seven-minute long track, which is a bit slower than The Nihilist. Its purpose is very clear, it’s supposed to be a journey where Horrendous shows off everything they got and it’s certainly one of the highs on Anareta. The atmosphere on this track manages to stay dark and brooding, whilst filtering in some light every now and then with the use of catchy hooks and melodic solos. Acolytes is another song in the same vein as Ozymandias, they are highly experimental, but with fluid and cohesive songwriting. It’s not progressive death metal in the traditional sense with some riffs thrown together just because they’re weird or technical, the riffs are sown together with precision and determination.
Sum of all Failures starts with an acoustic guitar intro before blossoming into a track that is both very aggressive and melodic. The very first riff on this track makes me think of Swedish death metal legends such as Entombed or Dismember, but the track takes a break midway through until finally going full out aggressive in the outro.
Anareta is a solid follow-up to last year’s Ecdysis, although maybe reaching for more than they can chew at some points; it still feels very deliberate and cohesive throughout the entire album. If you’re a fan of At the Gates prior to Slaughter of the Soul and Human era Death, this album will surely go down well as it feels like a mix of the two.
- Jan Jakobsen
Check ’em out here: https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/anareta