Horrendous – “Acolyte”

Horrendous – “Acolyte”

The Philadelphia trio Horrendous are about a month away from releasing one of the year’s best metal albums — their third LP, Anareta — from which they’ve already debuted one track, “Sum Of All Failures.” We covered that one in August’s Black Market and what I said there stands here, too:

Horrendous were responsible for my favorite song of 2014: a track called “Titan,” which closed their sophomore LP, Ecdysis, one of my favorite albums of 2014. I called that LP a “modern classic”; I compared it to Ride The Lightning, for god’s sake. I didn’t expect Horrendous to be back a year later with their third full-length, and when I found out they were returning so quickly, I anticipated Ecdysis’ follow-up would feel rushed or minor or obligatory. Why are they doing this? I asked myself. Why aren’t they taking their time to properly craft a suitably triumphant return? I assumed the band’s forthcoming Anareta would feel like a second-rate Ecdysis — which would still be better than most bands’ best work, IMHO, but a disappointing development just the same. I’m pretty happy to admit that I was dead wrong. I’m shocked to find myself saying this, but Anareta isn’t just better than I expected it to be — it’s actually better than Ecdysis. Horrendous still deal in the same sort of filthy, amp-destroying Gothenburg-style guitar tones that Entombed made famous 25 years ago on Left Hand Path, but Horrendous’ instrumental abilities (or at least their expression thereof) have grown tenfold. But Anareta doesn’t lose itself in tech-wizardry at the expense of melodic songcraft; it actually uses tech-wizardry in the service of melodic songcraft. Few other bands do this so well, and the ones that do — Carcass, At The Gates, Pestilence … even Death, if it’s not completely sacrilegious of me to mention that name in this context — are among the very best and most beloved bands in the history of death metal. I’m convinced Horrendous will one day be included among those ranks. They might belong there right now.

They really might! Anyway, Horrendous have shared another new one, “Acolytes,” and it’s another behemoth: It’s a slaughterhouse of wormy, vintage-sounding tech-death riffs from the Pestilence/Atheist school, class of ’91, but then it kicks to something else altogether. So do me a favor: Put on headphones and play this one good and loud — and then, come back and talk to me about that breakdown at the 5-minute mark. Talk to me about the way they build it back up from there. Talk about euphoric, man. Talk to me about that.

If you haven’t heard “Sum Of All Failures” yet, listen to that, too, because it’s even better than “Acolytes.” FWIW, these are two of Anareta’s eight total tracks, and they’re maybe the fifth and sixth best songs on the thing. I’m not playing; this record is a fucking wonder.

Anareta is out 10/27 via Dark Descent.

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