Horrified - Allure of the Fallen 01Horrified is in a bit of an odd place. Parallels to Philadelphia death outfit Horrendous are apt, with Horrified‘s first two albums delivering exactly the slabs of modernized Swedeath you might expect. Though 2016’s magnificent Of Despair put the band on the map, Horrified mastermind Dan Alderson himself immediately touted their next album as “something with an even larger and dynamic range of influences… more original and diverse than the material presented on Of Despair.” Downplaying your current release for the sake of your next is a ballsy move, but Alderson clearly knew he had something special on his hands with Allure of the Fallen. The result delivers on that promise, offering a take on Swedish death that sounds refreshingly little like anything we expect from the genre today.

Initially approaching Allure with Horrendous in mind worked in theory — Horrified previously occupied much of the same territory, albeit with a more adventurous soul. Another go-round on Alderson’s tortured mix of Martin van Drunen and John Tardy and his restrained Swedish buzzsaw sounded quite fine indeed. But Allure closes that door right from the start. “Allure of the Fallen” spends its seven minutes emerging from a cocoon, content to slowly unfurl rather than immediately satiate. The buzzsaw sound is nearly gone, replaced by a more agile tone with an inherent melodic prowess to it. New addition and Plague Rider mate Lee Anderson pilots the bass through Allure‘s undulating seas, ever-involved in the proceedings in a way that caught me off guard. This was supposed to be death metal, right? Well, kinda. Death and black shine in equal measure, but Horrified peak when fusing the two. “Light’s Dissolution” furthers Horrified‘s press into the amorphous darkness, but “The Perceiver” truly reveals the album’s blackened necrosis as terminal. Its murky passages blast and bustle through black/death territory that sounds more like In Human Form than Dissection but always remains palpable.

The Brits tap, glide, and roll across a variety of riffs and ideas that rarely disappoint. Influences begin with, yes, Horrendous, but span as far as Death, Vinterland and early Insomnium. “The Promise of Solace” develops the distinct rhythm of a Metallica ballad into a gruesome, soul-rending exercise in blackened emotion, only to fade into a somber passage that could feature on an Agalloch album. “Shorn” goes the route of Katatonia doom-as-melodic death instead. Horrified‘s willingness to explore is not necessarily new, as passages of Of Despair proved, but this newfound dedication handles elements of death, black, doom, and thrash metal far more capably than even those initial presages suggested. The band still have some kinks to work out, however. With so many moving parts, disparate passages sometimes feel like mismatched puzzle pieces. Moments like that of “Unanswered” scrape across rhythms, from one tone to the next, leaving the listener behind with mind-boggling fervor. These shifting sands play into the album’s lack of natural culmination. The natural highs of their sporadic blackened charges carry a Cascadian atmosphere about them, yet come across more as pieces of a larger picture, not as a rallying point or final destination.

Horrified - Allure of the Fallen 02

In its fusion, Allure also sheds the hallmark shortcomings in both black and death production. Damian Herring of Horrendous fame returns for another turn on the soundboard, bringing with him the same expertise that made Of Despair (and Horrendous‘ own offerings) so damn enticing. The fleshed out bass treatment adds yet another level of dynamism to the record, while Alderson’s vocals and James Charlton’s drums sound phenomenal, more than capable of weaving the multi-layered tapestry that Alderson had in mind. Unfortunately, I found myself wishing for more bulk in the guitar tones. I imagine cutting across genres so neatly had to limit their options. Their melodic stomping ground of choice takes nothing away from the best stretches of the album, like “Light’s Dissolution,” but “Unanswered” and “Shorn” need more meat on their bones.

Horrified may still have room to grow, but the band receives credit nonetheless. To churn out a third album within eighteen months is tough enough. To dissect a blossoming sound and reassemble it as a boundary-pushing genre-bender with little resemblance to its former self is harder still. To incorporate a constellation of directions while still ensuring the record is fully formed out of the box, capable of somber emotion and dizzying technicality and savage victory? Allure of the Fallen is downright impressive.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Shadow Kingdom Records
Websites: horrified.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/horrifieduk
Releases Worldwide: September 29th, 2017

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  • Brutalist_Receptacle
    • Nukenado

      The concrete box tells no lies.

  • Handy Donut Hole

    The guitar tone makes my teeth tingle in all the right ways. I loved that embedded track.

    • Name’s Dalton

      Have you heard Elder? The first song of this new album mediately recalled Elder – which is never a bad thing.

      This album is in AOTY contender. As is the new Elder, I might add.

      • John

        Honestly, the new Elder was a huge disappointment. I was really looking forward to it, but it couldn’t stand up to Lore for me.I gave it a few run theoughs, but might have to give it another shake.

        • Name’s Dalton

          Lore was always going to be damn near impossible to top.

  • Eli Valcik

    Hmmm this album is in the 4.5 range for me. I’m fucking loving it, I said on the bandcamp page that it’s like horrendous meets black metal and doom (which is perfection)

    edit: also that album art!

    • Dr. Wvrm

      Funny enough, I actually liked the last one’s execution more than this one. However, this was far more ambitious and the direction has far more legs than just another Swedeath band. They’ve got the ability to ride this train to stardom.

      • Eli Valcik

        I totally see what you mean. I’m just not a fan of Death metal (with some exceptions ie Bolt Thrower, Death, Horrendious ect.) So I very much enjoyed the more blackend death change.

    • ssorg

      Adam Burke, right? That dude rules.

  • Metal and Hockey

    When I got this CD in it didn’t leave my player for 2 weeks. Easy 4.5 for me and probably one of my top 5 albums this year

  • Excentric_13073

    As with Horrendous, I simply cannot get past the vocals. They grate on my nerves for some reason.

    • Eli Valcik

      Really? That is one of my favorite things about their sound, interesting how that kind of stuff can turn someone off or on.

    • Here’s Johnny

      so you don’t like Martin van Drunen then? you should be banished to purgatory

    • Lou Daz

      I 100% agree with you. Horrendous’ vocals are baffling to me, and this album suffers the same drawback.

      • John Mosley

        Starting out, the guitar work and composition were enough for me to suffer through the vocals. I grew to enjoy them with repeated listens. Kind of like an ugly baby. Sure it’s ugly, but you love your baby…

        • Lou Daz

          I definitely agree that the musicianship of Horrendous is impressive. The instrumentals on the latest album were fantastic, and they kept me coming back to the record as I kept trying to love it. When the LP came out, I tried to hear what everyone else did when it became acclaimed. Every so often, I’ll give Horrendous another listen, just to see if I’ll like it more. And when this Horrified album drops tomorrow, I’ll most likely do the same.
          Plus, the album art is incredible. I’m a sucker for amazing cover art.

  • Kyle Elliott

    Put this one in the bandcamp wishlist when I noticed they had endorsement from horrendous. Looking forward to it as I really enjoyed the pre release tracks and happy to hear it doesn’t disappoint.

  • Ferrous Beuller

    This and the new Necrovorous are scratching an itch.

    • Metal and Hockey

      I like what I’ve heard of that one too. Plan on ordering it with the Spectral Lore when it’s released

  • sir_c

    Just the two songs currently available on Bandcamp would already make me rate it higher than a 3.5, this shit is quite the tits.

  • Absolomb

    I do believe this cover is like a calid version of Destroyer of Light’s Chamber of Horrors. I prefer this album though, it’s go a lot more to offer and I can’t quite understand what some people’s problem could be with the vocals.

    • Master of Muppets

      I completely agree with the DoL artwork comparison, I kept seeing this pop up on Bandcamp and thinking “Didn’t I buy this months ago?”

  • Pedro Morini Mietto

    By the way, is there any perspective of a new Horrendous album?

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      Yes I wants

    • Eli Valcik

      Not sure, but we are getting a new Khemmis in early 2018 and a new Rimfrost sometime soon.

      • Master of Muppets

        There may be hope for this species yet.

      • Nukenado

        Is Khemmis stoppable?

        • Not likely. Hide your kids.

          • Nukenado

            Nah. I’ll just have my younger brother bring the record to his elementery school and kick all their little asses.

      • Pedro Morini Mietto

        That’s good news, ty!

    • Dr. Wvrm

      I believe I saw next year somewhere, but now that I’m looking for it, I can’t find it.

  • Danny

    I feel like if you’re gonna be strongly influenced by a certain band it may be wise to pick a name that isn’t almost exactly like theirs. But this sounds pretty cool, I will insert it into my earholes after the Dark Tranquility show hype wears off

    • Name’s Dalton

      It is a little close for comfort.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Sounds like Horredeous, well colour me horrified!

  • Master of Muppets

    Chamber of Blue Horrors
    Semi related, but holy fuck why haven’t we been losing our collective shit over Alunah’s Solennial? Just discovered it for myself by accident but damn… DAMN! Killer stuff, definitely a top doom album of the year contender for me.

    • Levly

      Meh, a few great songs but overall I found their previous two records much better. Solennial was reviewed here when it came out, btw, and didn’t receive a great score.

      • Master of Muppets

        Baffling. Perusing their earlier work, I can say a lot of it might be top notch but I’m still digging the fuck out of this one.

  • Damn, this is juicy. Horrendous will have a worthy companion as a permanent guest on my playlists.

  • John Mosley

    From the Latin horreo, to bristle or stand on end. While they have a common etymology, both band names are polar opposites. Horrendous, to be frightening. Horrified, to be frightened. Perhaps a dialogue.

  • Jay Majesty

    Love their take on melodic black/death on allure of the fallen. Excited to hear the album.

  • doom-erik

    Cool stuff. Brings to mind the melancholic/melodic death by bands such as Unanimated and October Tide.

  • Lou Daz

    OK, I definitely like this more than Horrendous. The vocals haven’t grown on me yet, but the instrumentation is amazing enough to keep listening.

    • Nag Dammit

      No way! Horrendous do blackened death or deathened black or whatever the hell you call this better than anyone. That said, these guys are great. Just the solos don’t rip as much as Horrendous. My opinion obviously. Xoth are also amazing at this kind of style.

      • Dudeguy Jones

        Xoth is so good!!

  • lennymccall

    Definitely digging this. Love Horrendous too so it was an easy slide into home plate.

  • Planex

    I have exams soon, I don’t have time to listen to all this great stuff lately.

    • Name’s Dalton

      Tune in and drop out, man.

  • RDP

    I really enjoyed this album. I actually liked the melodic guitar tones and the bass work is really well done. My only gripe is that some of the guitar solos don’t work with the rhythm guitar in the background, which makes the solos sound a flat (and out of tune). Maybe I’m the only one that hears it, but it bothers me.

    • Nag Dammit

      Nope, I hear it too. To my (totally fucking untrained ear) they sound more out of time than out of tune. Compare that to the latest Caligula’s Horse and even when that dude goes apeshit, it’s never out of time and always fits in with the supporting music perfectly. I only pick Caligula’s Horse as I’m listening to it right now. I’m not their manager or anything I promise. Still really like this album though.

  • Dudeguy Jones

    Holy shit, you forgot to mention this has themes from Malazan Book of the Fallen. My favorite shit! And this is really good metal! Rips and shreds in equal measure!

    • Nag Dammit

      Oh man. I didn’t know that, but that series has so much kickass Shit to draw from. This album is amazing without knowing that, so this just makes it even better. If only Caladan Brood were decent!

      • Dudeguy Jones

        In all honesty I’m saying that because the accompanying shirt has a T’lan Imass on it and then some of the song titles clicked as being similar to some themes from the book.

        So maybe its not as overt as Caladan Brood, who, by the way, I love, but they definitely warrant a certain mood before I just plop that slab on. :P

  • Name’s Dalton

    That Elder cover to open the album was a nice touch.