Genre: Black/Heavy/Pagan Metal
Label: Casus Belli Musica
Hordak is a Spanish Pagan Metal band, more specifically Celtiberian Pagan Metal, since they are trying to capture the same image as Viking Metal, but from Celtic and Iberian roots. This is a rather difficult to decipher tag, as I think of something like Eluveitie when I hear Pagan Metal, but of course Eluveitie is not actually Pagan Metal. So what is Hordak trying to convey with this tag? I’m not really sure, to be honest, but I will say that their music is awesome, and I will try my best to describe it better.
The music of Hordak is pure headbanging riff-heavy metal. There is a strong sense of melody, and there are solos aplenty. The guitars themselves don’t have a hugely raw sound, but nor is it super polished either. To me, I think of a really old power metal band, or perhaps even some kind of modern heavy metal band. There is no slick polish that new power metal has, but it has the same energy and flair. It’s a bit heavier and louder than most heavy metal I’ve heard, but there is a similar pacing and feel. And some songs are more one style than the other. The slower songs tend to be more heavy metal, the fast songs more power metal. But throughout the whole thing is a very strong sense of melody, and a magical feeling.
The vocals, however, are leaning towards being black metal vocals. They are raspy and shouted, perhaps not as bleak or aggressive as other black metal vocalists, but Hordak’s vocals would not be unusual if they were heard on a black metal album. Very rarely, there will be clean vocals that sound like a hero singing out a few lines to the empty air, and it really helps bring in that magical air, but for the most part the vocals are harsh. Personally, I love the vocals; they are the thing that kept me around and kept my interest engaged while the songs slowly worked their way into my ear.
This album is fantastic front to back; none of the songs are bad, none of them are half-hearted. There is even a nice little interlude track in the middle that doesn’t feel unnecessary. Some songs are a nice mid-tempo pace, like Sol Sister, and others are blisteringly fast and aggressive, like Father Sun – Father Dragon. But every song has a meaty riff that you can dig your teeth into; every song is memorable because of the care taken towards crafting riffs that are catchy-as-hell and special. My favourite track is the finale, the title track Padre. It’s pure epic glory. There is magic here in Hordak’s music, the kind that you find so often in power metal, but it’s not as cheesy as power metal (and I love cheesy power metal). It has a little bit more pride in its sound and the feeling that it is trying to capture.
I’m really impressed by this album and it has been getting tons of repeat listens simply because it is so enjoyable to listen to. The riffs are real, the headbanging is there, and it’s just a great album. You have to give this album a listen!
Check it out on Bandcamp: https://hordakpaganmetal.bandcamp.com/album/padre