HORRENDOUS - Ecdysis (DARK DESCENT LP 2014)
This second Horrendous album was released in 2014 and I must say that I was anticipating it with great hunger. This band’s demo “Sweet Blasphemies” as well as their first record “The Chills” were killer and I wanted to hear from Horrendous more and more such goodies. So I purchased the vinyl of “Ecdysis” as soon as it came out. And it came on lovely clear vinyl with blue splatter ha! Once I got it, I played it several times and well, I have to say I felt disappointed. I did not like this album after few spins! What the fuck, I asked myself?! What have they done?! I couldn’t believe what was I hearing, really, because my expectations were so different.
I just did not expect that Horrendous will go into more progressive direction, at least not so soon. Their early efforts were a nice combination of classic US and European old school death metal styles and I liked them a lot. For album number two Horrendous have kept some elements of their style from the debut and obviously it’s still a death metal record. But it all sounds more twisted, the influences are widely broadened and it’s not necessarily a pure death metal album anymore. But hey – does it always have to mean something wrong? Not necessarily. “Ecdysis” does sound a bit weird sometimes, it’s more progressive and definitely way more melodic and harmonious. It has some softer, less vicious parts and whole album is quite strongly focused on technicality, with great musicianship and it even has a strong heavy / thrash metal influence. All in all, this album didn’t click with me instantly.
But after being thrown away by “Ecdysis” in the beginning, I gave this album a second chance much later (at the time, when the band announced the coming of their third album “Anareta”). And I don’t know what really happened, but something has changed in my perception of “Ecdysis”. I still think that “The Chills” was better album, I still don’t like some of the ideas Horrendous had used for their second record, but at the same time I can hear many moments of pure genius and brilliance, and I just cannot resist to these sounds now. There’s just something about this music that makes it sound irresistible. And I started to enjoy it a lot!
The time, when I re-discovered this album was in the middle of the night and it was like a hit in a face. I noticed the progressive elements of Horrendous music straight away, but there was so much more about “Ecdysis” than just technicality and melodies that I discovered... And maybe it was because of these different conditions to play the music or something else, but it really impressed me this time.
I can still pick up some parts of “Ecdysis”, which I don’t like so much, like for example “When the Walls Fell” or “Pavor Nocturnus” – these songs are rather mediocre, in my opinion. But some other songs are fuckin amazing and make this record sound incredibly strong! I guess if someone said that he wants to hear death metal going not only the clichéd ways, but to be more revolutionary or untypical, then he must have thought of such albums as “Ecdysis”. And I wonder if this is how Pestilence should have sounded like after “Testimony of the Ancients” album, instead of what we can find on that terrible “Sphere”?
Let’s take the first song “The Stranger”. Wow, I think it’s fantastic! I like the way it’s been built, with that slow, long opening theme, which introduces us to one of the greatest melodies (and solos) from the whole album. Few of these riffs are not necessarily what you can usually hear from death metal bands, at least some of them, but as a whole, together with harsh, screaming vocals and even a blasting drumming, it gives a very good result. And that chorus and the ending melody are just bloody awesome, damn! One of the tracks is called “Titan” and it is just... titanic haha! What a fantastic finish for the whole album, again, with some really excellent melodies, riffs and very good sounding vocals, especially in the very last fragment of this song, which I like the most from the whole album! It sounds simply beautiful!
I suppose that if I was going to describe the whole album in detail, then I would need to comment on every song here, as each has something what distinguishes it from the rest. Personally, together with those two mentioned just now, I also like “Weeping Relic” and especially “Resonator”, which seems to be among the more aggressive tunes (which doesn’t mean they’re without any progressive solos, etc). With “Heaven’s Deceit” Horrendous starts to remind me early At the Gates albums as well as the very early Dark Tranquillity, which were melodic, but twisted and yet aggressive at the same time. Actually I think that “Ecdysis” owns a lot to those early melodic death metal albums from Sweden. Whatever… It’s bloody good album and I am happy that I didn’t throw it away after the first rather disappointing impression.
Standout tracks: “The Stranger”, “Resonator”, “Titan”
Final rate: 80/100