Horrendous – “The Stranger” (Stereogum Premiere)

In August’s Black Market, Aaron suggested that Horrendous were part of a subgenre that might be called the “New Wave Of Progressive Old-School Swedish Death Metal.” That’s a mouthful, but it sounds about right! Two things to be aware of, though: 1) Horrendous are an American band (from Philadelphia, I think, although their bio simply says they’re from the “East Coast”); and 2) compared to the other bands that might fall under that subgenre tag (Morbus Chron and Tribulation most prominently), Horrendous’ music isn’t quite so … bizarre. It’s unusually direct, song-based. What I’m trying to say here is, it’s really fucking catchy. Unlike most American “HM-2-core” bands (Black Breath, Nails, Trap Them, etc.), Horrendous didn’t merely write some badass riffs and hire Kurt Ballou to make them sound awesome (and I don’t mean that as a slight against those bands, who do in fact write badass riffs and sound awesome) — instead, Horrendous followed Entombed’s Left Hand Path and were carried by Dismember’s Ever Flowing Stream and emerged from those voyages at a place where song structure, melody, iconoclasm, and power are given equal weight, and those elements combine to create something that feels bigger than both the music’s subgenre and its era. My exact words upon first hearing Horrendous’ forthcoming sophomore album, Ecdysis (which follows the outstanding 2012 debut The Chills) were: “These guys are on some Metallica shit.” And I’m not talking about Load or even “Black Album” here: I’m talking First Four, when Metallica were, like Horrendous, a young American band synthesizing obscure European influences, making them sharper, harder, bigger, and absolutely undeniable. Need proof? We’ve got Ecdysis’ opening track, “The Stranger,” for you to stream today. Just try to deny this.

Ecdysis is out 10/14 via Dark Descent.

Tags: Horrendous