Metal Review – Horrid: Sacrilegious Fornication

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Metal Review – Horrid: Sacrilegious Fornication
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Horrid: Sacrilegious Fornication
Death Metal
Dunkelheit Produktionen
May 17th, 2014
Release length: 34:26
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Horrid originally formed back in 1988 under the name Rites of Death. Despite a fairly limited discography, this entity has gone through plenty of members to the point where it has become a simple three-piece Death Metal outfit. For 2014, Horrid has inked a deal with Dunkelheit Produktionen to issue their long overdue third full-length/follow-up album to 2006’s Rising from the Hidden Spheres titled Sacrilegious Fornication. While it breaks the eight year gap between the two that only saw a split in 2010 Clinicamente Morti, it also has the distinction of being (possibly) the final recording with founding bassist and vocalist Max in the ranks, having departed earlier this year after recording was finished. This leaves Horrid as a two-piece for now, composed of the recently acquired drummer Riccardo, as well as guitarist Belfagor, the last remaining member actively participating. But does this last effort from the most recent line-up stand as a testament of what they were able to accomplish, or is it largely squandered?

The effort kicks things off with an movie audio clip of an exorcism being performed that eats up a good fifty seconds. Once it finally passes you are met with some catchy, raw and abrasive riffs and bass uitar presence for the main verses, though the chorus has more of a creepy melody. There’s some subtle Black Metal nods you can pick up on with the simple background notes about four minutes in as well. This formula is actually followed for most of the release as well, though with varyingd degrees of quality to them. “Blood on Satan’s Claw” is the perfect example of this. While the main riffs don’t necessarily show that slight groove to them, it has a distinct Swedish Death Metal foundation that takes full advantage of the buzzing distortions with nice transitions between hooks and hostility, really allowing the guitars a chance to shine through and work with the drums instead of coming off buried behind them. It also plays into the catacombs vibe the vocals exhude without falling victim to that Incantation bred style of Death Metal burden.

“Vortex of Primordial Chaos” is really where the material starts to just work better as a whole. The echoing growls are matched with intimidating held notes and additional technicality at times, shifting into a robust Deceased style chorus that immediately grabs you. “Demonic Sadocarnage” drops the held notes, but still keeps the simpler chord concept and executes them a little tighter to refrain from letting notes hang. This leads to some nice changes in some of the passages that actually make things sound consistently sinister, even with the infectious chorus. “Goddess of Heretical Perversity” finds some snarling growls towards the end, and it’s sad this is the only time they show as it works far better than the rather bland echo approach that has very little range in comparison. There’s little melody to this one, hammering away with just one hostile riff after another to make the just over three minute trek seem much shorter, as well as far more worthwhile.

Sacriligious Fornication does have its share of issues though. The first is that aforementioned raw audio quality. While it suits the burdening and abrasive songs, it doesn’t always sound good in the long run. The guitars often carry a tinny feedback in the form of a steady high pitch noise that sounds lke thousands of crickets all chirping at the same time and layered upon one another. Then there’s have the bass kicks that are much louder than anything else in the mix, often fighting with the shrill sound from the guitars for dominance, greatly distracting you from everything else. “Necromancy,” however, finds some wooden ticks in the background that either are part of the kit, or just an issue with the audio. The first time you can notice it is during “Vortex of Primordial Chaos,” but it’s around fifty seconds in that you’ll really pick up on it and how it’s impossible to ignore through the rest of the performance. And then there’s the deep growling and echo effect that not only buries the vocals a bit against the rest of the music, but also gives it that cavernous sensation (for lack of a better term) that just doesn’t suit the output from the rest of the instruments.

While Sacrilegious Fornication isn’t necessarily a bad album, especially when everything mixes together just right, it’s actually that the audio quality makes it really hard to listen to sometimes. The louder you play it, the louder those high pitches and crisp, louder bass kicks end up being, making it even harder for you to focus and sift through what can easily be called a dirty, noisy quality. But when you can look past all that, you will find some solid performances. Even if you’re a fan of Horrid to begin with, Sacrilegious Fornication is one of those recordings that is best worth sampling due to the many faults outlined earlier, just to see if you can tolerate the migraine enducing noise and levels that will come through your speakers in a successful attempt to pull you attention from everything that matters and induce a migraine after just one spin.

01. Sacrilegious Fornication – 5:26
02. Vortex of Primordial Chaos – 4:32
03. Necromancy – 3:52
04. Demonic Sadocarnage – 4:59
05. Blood on Satan’s Claw – 4:18
06. The Fire of Impenitence – 4:18
07. Diocletianic Persecution – 4:01
08. Goddess of Heretical Perversity – 3:01
Initial Pressing Score: 5.5/10

Horrid
Horrid

Digital review copy of this release provided by Dunkelheit Produktionen via Clawhammer PR.