Horrendous_AnaretaHorrendous caught many off guard when they dropped last year’s sublime sophomore opus, Ecdysis. The album blew away my modest expectations and cemented Horrendous as far more than your typical old school retro death act they appeared to be on their solid debut. Putting an innovative spin on their old school formula and heaving a weighty sack of delicious riffs, Horrendous took some gravity defying leaps forward to complete one of the more astonishing evolutionary strides I’ve had the pleasure of hearing in recent years. Now merely a year later, with barely enough time for the dust to settle on Ecdysis, Horrendous return in surprisingly prompt fashion with third album Anareta. I must admit quick turnarounds such as this fill me with equal parts excitement and skepticism, particularly on the back of the greatness of Ecdysis. So are the creative juices still flowing for the power trio on the all important album number three?

In many ways Anareta continues where Ecdysis left off while stirring some intriguing new ingredients into the stew. Whereas Ecdysis was a fun and rollicking ride anchored by glorious riffs and memorable songcraft, by comparison Anareta is darker, angrier and an altogether more intricate beast that cuts deeper on an emotional level. Notably Horrendous shoehorn a stronger melodic and progressive presence into the fray without compromising their iron grip of song-writing dynamics or their raw groovy approach to death metal. Horrendous hasn’t abandoned their old school ethos, but are simply too damn good and innovative to be pigeon-holed as just another retro death act. In particular the Stockholm influence has been scaled back in favor of a more twisting progressive style that recalls the genius of mid-late era Death. Adding further fuel to their supercharged engines, Horrendous balance old school inspirations with a distinct contemporary feel which finds them refining their sound into something endearingly familiar yet forward thinking, severing the rich bloodlines of death metal’s past and reattaching them to their own fresh blood supply.

Anareta’s strong melodic and progressive tendencies entangle around an aggressive death core that lovingly recalls but doesn’t tread on the toes of the bygone greats. Damian Herring and Matt Knox announced their superstar credentials on Ecdysis and continue their rapid rise here. Burly riffs retain much of the muscle, groove and catchiness of Ecdysis. Intoxicating leads and harmonies dart, spiral and pirouette through intricate melodic gateways featuring a myriad of tempo shifts, knotty twists and playful prog injections. The solos offer tasty, innovative punctuation marks while staying grounded within the context of each song. And if some of the riffs don’t deliver the instant ‘fuck yeah!’ rush of Ecdysis, they prove equally powerful and addicting over repeat listens. The easily discernible, mutating basslines play a key role in the album’s construction, further anchored by the accomplished work of drummer Jamie Knox. Vocals are an aspect of the Horrendous make-up that could be seen as a weak link, if the strained dual delivery wasn’t delivered with such venom, conviction and bloody throated rawness, with the occasional strained cleans well-placed and executed.

Horrendous_2015

Anareta is a masterfully composed and intelligently written monster that grips from the energized, off-kilter thrash and rumble of “The Nihilist” right through to the somber notes and soulful doom-laden riffage of closer “The Solipsist (Mirrors Gaze).” While not quite as instantly memorable as Ecdysis, in comparison Anareta is a more layered and subtle affair, offering a richer in-depth listen that takes a bit more time and effort to fully appreciate and unlock the treasures within. However, the payoff is well worth the effort. “Ozymandias” and “Acolytes” feature dense and labyrinthine arrangements that pull together all of Horrendous’ song-writing strengths into powerhouse packages of death metal goodness.

Variety is present in spades, as the likes of “Polaris” attests with its warped mid-paced opening chug plowing into a blistering salvo topped with knuckle-dusting grooves and proggy interplay, while their penchant for writing interesting, evocative instrumentals shines again on the soulful and melancholic “Siderea.” Production-wise Anareta boasts a sound that somehow outdoes the critically acclaimed work on Ecdysis, featuring an equally dynamic yet somehow bigger and punchier sound that is both authoritative and comforting.

Horrendous have outdone themselves again and smashed out another brilliant album to enter the realms of the death metal elite. Anareta is a brutishly graceful death metal behemoth dressed in old school threads, that is every bit as compelling as its glorious predecessor. Now if you’ll excuse me, after all this gushing I need to take a shower. Get this fucking album.


Rating: 4.5 /5.0
DR: 10 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Dark Descent Records
Websites: Horrendous.Bandcamp.com | Facebook.com/Horrendous
Releases Worldwide: October 30, 2015

Share →
  • One More Thing

    I really enjoyed your review. You answered a lot of the questions that I had about the record and, after hearing that killer song above, I’m definitely gonna pick this one up.

    • Luke_22

      Thanks for the kind words, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

  • Excentric_1307

    I could make the argument that weak vocals are par for the course with early, innovative Death Metal. Unless they’re really annoying, I don’t let it bother me, as long as there’s that conviction and passion regardless of brute talent.

    • Luke_22

      And that is exactly the case here. I actually don’t mind the vocals but the passion behind the delivery lifts them a notch in my book. But with Horrendous the music does most the talking.

  • Dr. Scorpion

    The arachnid likes this. Another one to be added to the layer.

  • El_Cuervo

    I’m hyped to get my hands on this. Sure to be excellent. But the lack of buzz around that new Lik record is highly distressing as far as retro death goes, cos that thing is fucking immense.

    • Luke_22

      Cool, I’ll have to check it out, dig me some old school death.

      • El_Cuervo

        I rated it 4 a couple of weeks ago but it’s probably a 4.5 now, it’s made a late charge for my top 10 list.

  • Honestly, I’m not sure only giving this a 4.5 does it credit. Probably gonna be my #1 on the year unless Baroness unseats it – and I say this as someone who completely missed the hype train on Ecdysis.

    • Karmazov

      I am with you here. I originally missed the hype train but jumped on it a few months later. This band really seems to be progressing in the best way possible.

    • A 4.5 here is an incredibly hard to come by score. Very few albums ever get a 5.0.

      • I’ve seen that in the short time I’ve lurked around here, and I certainly respect it (far too many sites throw around perfect scores like they were giveaways at a career fair). I just think that highly of this album in particular.

        • Oberon

          With the exception of the Amorphis’s Skyforger album, I don’t know of any other albums to get the perfect score either. Unless of course, Steel Druhm secretly gives Jorne an auto 4.5

          • Moonsorrow and Opeth have scored 5.0s, as have Riot and Voyager

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            …and White Wizzard. ;-)

          • Philip Pledger

            …I thought we agreed not to mention that one.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            I didn´t get the memo.

          • Yes you did!

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            I promise I won´t mention it again until the next time I do.

          • Grymm

            Pallbearer came damn close with me, as did Imperial Triumphant and Eye of Solitude’s Canto III.

  • Kronos

    Still haven’t sat down with this one, but I’m sure it’s as good as you say. Nothing beats the cover art from last time, though.

    • Yeah, Ecdysis definitely had better cover art. A flag with it adorns my living room, and none of my roommates have complained.

      • Martin Knap

        I bet the new one is made by the same artist and it’s certainly interesting.

        • It is. Brian Smith did the cover art for both.

        • Kronos

          Talented guy.

      • Kronos

        I’ve got that flag sitting right behind me. Even took it to San Fransisco when I was working there this summer to make my space feel more homey.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Where can I get one of those flags?

        • M C

          Their record label.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Thanks!

        • I think Dark Descent sells them on their website

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Thanks!

    • De2013

      Check out the Saxon cover…

      • sir_c

        just some horny guys, those metalists :-)

  • Handy Donut Hole

    I really wish I didn’t have to wait another week to bash my head violently to this album. I loved Ecdysis so my expectations are huge.

    • Hammersmith

      This! I listened to the embedded track and was like “yep, buying this” only to end up pre-ordering it on iTunes. :/

  • Karmazov

    I’m so fucking excited for this album, man. I’m desperately waiting for my preorder to come in the mail. This album is certainly going to be in my top 3 of the year, I think. I’m anxiously hoping it will be my album of the year. But man, I love this band and the wait is killing me.

    • Handy Donut Hole

      I feel your pain.

  • Wilhelm

    How it’s possible to sound fresh and innovative with a genre that’s mostly rehashing sounds and overproducing material is beyond me, but they do it and do it well. I really cannot think of a bad aspect about this band.

  • Pimpolho

    Possible AOTY contender? I am eager to listen to it!

    • Luke_22

      It will be up there for me no doubt.

  • So My Dying Bride made A Map of All Our Failures, now this band has calculated the Sum of All Failures. We just need someone to produce A Detailed Analysis of All Failures and we’ll be set.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Now that both the map and the sum are available, it´s just a matter of time before someone does the detailed analysis.

    • Martin Knap

      Soon we’ll need a Misery Index.

    • sir_c

      sounds like the road to perdition

    • madhare

      And after that there will be some humanist/social scientist punk offering a Reconceptualisation of All Our Failures.

  • robpal

    “Prog” and “4,5” in the same review? Can’t wait to put my hands on it!

  • Stefano Kevin Prince Vitali

    I’m pretty surprised no one mentioned how good is the embedded track. The way they keep throwing at you riff after riff is almost frustrating, except the next riff is so good, the transition so fluid that you just have to ride the rollercoaster. There’s a ridicolously good melodic death riff that pops in at 1.25 for just four measures, never to be heard again, and you don’t mind, thrilled as you are with the next. Masterful use of tempo shifts and dynamics too, in that nice little doomy gloomy moment before the final crescendo. Damn, I really like that song!

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      No one mentioned how good the embedded track is because everyone listened to it, went to Horrendous’ Bandcamp, listened to the other two tracks available and are now still picking up their jaws at how good the three tracks are.

      • Luke_22

        Yes that was pretty much my thinking, but honestly there’s nothing resembling a weak song on the album.

  • Record of the year.

    • It is so fucking good, they’ve gone beyond my expectations. It’s like Opeth, At the Gates, Dismember, Dissection, Fates Warning and Death all bundled up, but still sounds like a cohesive and distinctive Horrendous album.

      • My review is going to up today or early next week. Just been crazy busy. But the single biggest crime this website has committed this year (so far!) was not giving this record a well deserved 5.0. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

  • André Snyde Lopes

    Don’t let Daniel read this review!

  • Philip Pledger

    Seriously, though, two albums of this quality in two years? These guys are on fire!

    • AlphaBetaFoxface

      Screw you dude, I typed your comment word for damn word literally 5 seconds after you posted. I kid you not. I hope they can keep this up!

    • Luke_22

      Absolutely. I’m blown away with just how good this quickfire follow-up is. Hopefully they can keep the fires burning for years to come.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    This sounds like they used their Entombed foundations to build an Anata skycraper.
    If Fabio was a metalhead he would be saying: I can´t believe they´re not Swedish!

    • Luke_22

      Like that first sentence :) though I actually think the Swedish influence has been toned down a bit here. It’s still there but not as prominent.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        I would say the Swedish influence has been complemented with a big heap of Death influence.

  • Crapola

    Absolutely fuckin killer album!

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    This fug rt. god fsfjh damn can’t rfsdkhtype occulting too wildly!!!!!!! frhging epic!!!

  • John Mosley

    Album art reminds me of an old squaresoft RPG called Secret of Evermore, a boss battle. Can’t un-see it. Google Images Secret of Evermore + Thraxx.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Now I know what that cover is!

  • John Mosley

    This

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Now I know what that cover is! This is what happens when kids grow up on videogames and Death Metal.

  • lennymccall

    This just popped up as a release like a month ago and I was surprised as hell.
    I’m still listening to Ecdysis all the time and more Horrendous will make me a very happy metalhead camper. Glad it gets an AMG approval and can’t fucking wait to hear it!!

  • Antonio Barrote

    2015 album of the year

    • JL

      No that would be Alkaloid or Sulphur Aeon, but this is good.

  • groverXIII

    Excellent album. Horrendous didn’t go full Tribulation, but both bands definitely went a more progressive direction, and I’m alright with that.

  • FutureBeyondSatan

    Meh. I won’t be fooled by the hype again. Do not need another “dust collector of the year”. Great art, though.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      FBS, I’m sure you will see the light sooner or later!

      • FutureBeyondSatan

        No light for me!

  • JL

    Listened to the embedded track 3 times….awesome stuff!

  • Nick Maestas

    Soooooo excited for my order to come in! I’ve been hooked on this band since the review of their previous album!

  • Excentric_1307

    So now that the buzz has died down and everyone’s moved on, I think I’m free to say it: I don’t like Ecdysis. I’ve tried repeatedly to get into it and have come up empty. After having time to listen to a few tracks from the new album, I think I know why. It’s purely aesthetic, of course, but Ecdysis isn’t angry or dangerous enough. There’s brief moments of anger here and there, but for the most part the album sounds sort of desperate and resigned.

    But this one? This, at least from the 3 tracks I can listen to on Bandcamp, sounds ready to do some damage. I welcome the newfound sense of urgency and danger. Death Metal, to me, needs to sound like murder. This one’s got “it”.

  • Nick Maestas

    All I want is my copy. Can friday hurry up?

  • Óðinn

    This is Horrendous! Which in this case is good. Thanks, L. Saunders.

  • Nick Maestas

    This and Horrendous’ previous album are probably the best death metal albums I’ve heard. This bands style of death metal creates a mood that I haven’t heard for a couple of years and the musicianship is just fucking impressive! Horrendous is quickly becoming one of my favorite bands.

  • herrschobel

    makes me wanna dance…really good record. beyond any Genre limitations

  • De2013

    Late to the party, but wow what a killer album!!!

  • Guleh

    Thanks god for this album. Finally some recent Death Metal with melody.
    Drums sound like real drums. Guitars sound like a miked amp with some damned mids in them, and by way of consequence, the bass is lively and full (and plays some really good harmonies).
    I don’t care too much for the singer, but he does a nice job in and old school way that reminds me much of Death.
    Thanks AMG. This album is really good.

  • Excellent review

  • Eli Valcik

    I pride myself in owning this Vinyl, and I’m not really even into Death Metal.