As one of the most prolific bands to have ever graced the black metal genre, Finland’s Horna have slowly edged their way into becoming masters of “Finnish filth” over the course of their impressive 14 year existence. On a mission to write music that is grimmer than Dot Cotton’s morning breath, their latest and perhaps greatest release “Ääniä Yössä” is a concept album based around the Black Death that swept of Europe during the mid fourteenth century.
The brilliant thing about this is that, musically speaking, it captures more than perfectly the image of rats, disease and death due to its incredibly sewer-like production, haunting minimalism and painful screams of agony. First track “Raiskattu Saastaisessn Yalossa” is very Burzum-like in its primal metallic ambience and much like the aforementioned master, never gets too repetitive or borders on the tedious. Second track “Youtajan Kutsu” is a more up-tempo rocking (in the Darkthrone sense) track that although still very repetitive, bares a bit more variation in terms of melody. Third track “Mustan Surman Rukous” is perhaps the disks finest moment with some killer dark melodies, great riffing and demented screaming and the fourth final title track is a 21 minute epic that pretty much sums up what this album and its concept is all about. Faster than the rest of the albums tracks yet with the least amount of variation, this repetitive beast is probably some of the darkest material Horna have written to date. Very typically Scandinavian in tone (early Burzum comes to mind yet again), those cold, sunken melodies and harsh screams drift around the body like the plague itself until entirely consumed by its powerful, somber grace.
As a band that can rightly be accused of the quantity over quality tag, Horna have finally found a winning formula here with “Ääniä Yössä” that surpasses everything the band has released to date. Hypnotic, raw, minimal and above all, real; this album will surprise those who thought nothing of Horna and completely mesmerize their already sizable cult fanbase. Quality stuff that should not be missed. (DaveW)