Black Soul Horde – Horrors from the Void Review

So you just endured a long, soul-killing week of nonstop 4.0s at the AMG Forced Labor Emporium and need to get away from a certain cadre of overrating hack reviewers.1 You get home, kick off the war boots, seize a large tankard of ale, a larger goblet of hobo wine, and sit down for a relaxed sampling of Black Soul Horde‘s latest platter of epic/trve sword-worship, Horrors from the Void. And what happens? You get unexpectedly tentacle smacked across the face, chest, and ham hocks by slimy Lovecraftian horrors from beyond space and time. It seems this Greek epic/true metal act decided their third opus should prominently feature such unspeakable elder horrors instead of the usual tales of chaos wizard throne usurpage the genre so heavily favors. But can this trve banner carrying crew hope to throw down with the likes of Eternal Champion and Visigoth with so many alien appendages flailing and flapping around? Let’s bisque in the calamari as we investigate.

Black Soul Horde take 80s-centric heavy metal loaded with fantasy and horror themes and jam it through Iron Maiden and Judas Priest filters before finishing in a powder (power) coat of Agent Steel and Jag Panzer. That means the riffs are burly and aggressive and the harmonies are plentiful and galloping. Opener “Beneath the Mountains of Madness” drops the anvil early with big, battering riffs and an epic doom heft Hercules himself would struggle to hoist. When Vocalist Jim Kotsis comes in, he sounds like a winning blend of Lance King (ex-Pyramaze, ex-Balance of Power), Jason Tarpey (Eternal Champion) and Mark “the Shark” Shelton (Manilla Road), granting the music both a manic energy and a tie to the early 80s epic metal glory days. The writing is tight, biting and sharp with vocal and guitar hooks around every tentacle-laden corner. “Beware the Deep” slaps with Cthulhu levels of eldritch force, thrashing and trilling for all its worth, and “Blinding Void” rocks some harsh vocals and borderline thrashy riffs for a winning formula that reeks of vintage Steel Prophet.

The highpoint comes on “God of War” which is one of the most entertaining and addicting songs I’ve heard this year, full of powerhouse riffs, soaring vocals, testosterone, and adrenaline. It reminds me of the best of Ancient Empire‘s and Eternal Champion‘s output and if it doesn’t get your blood moving, you have motor oil running through your veins. The best feature of Horrors is that there are no bad songs or a trace of filler. Every song is hooky and memorable, with some interesting side-quests taken into doom on “Lair of the Wolf” and “Malediction of the Dead.” Hell, the promo includes two promo tracks and even they’re top-flight and highly entertaining. At a tight, lean 42 minutes without said bonus cuts, Horrors is a savory epic metal delight with more balls than many “extreme” albums I’ve heard this year. It’s also highly addicting and I can’t seem to stop spinning it.

I’m a big fan of Jim Kotsis as a vocalist, though I imagine there will be some percentage of metaldom that is put off by his high-pitched delivery. He’s got enough range to do interesting things and change gears as the music demands and he brings a warm, nostalgic 80s flavor to the material. Sometimes his dramatic flourishes recall early days King Diamond, and he certainly has an ear for big vocal hooks. The wild guitar-work from Costas P. and John T. is the big-ticket item here, however. They rip and slash all over the place with a stunning collection of vintage metal leads and harmonies, but they’re willing to try their hand at doom and speed tropes when the time is right. There are some very Maiden-esque moments dotting the landscape, and their power metal influences are evident at times, but things also veer into heavier environs. This gives Horrors a dynamic unpredictability that keeps me coming back for more.

You could watch 100 hours of Mexican telenovelas and not see as many slaps as Black Soul Horde and their betentacled brethren deal out over the course of Horrors from the Void. I didn’t want to enjoy this as much as I do, and I certainly didn’t want to find myself part of the dreaded 4.0 score and seven 4.0s club, but here I am.2 Horrors is easily one of my favorite albums of 2021 and I’m having a helluva hard time prying its insidiously sticky suckers from my hairy flesh. There are worse ways to spend November I suppose. Come for the feelers, stay for the feelz.


Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Vinyl Store
Websites: blacksoulhorde.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/blacksoulhorde
Releases Worldwide: November 10, 2021

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Hey! I resemble this remark! – Holdeneye
  2. 0))) Days since our last accident. 4.0.
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