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Growing Horns - The Nobility of Pain

Growing Horns
The Nobility of Pain
by Justin "Witty City' Wittenmeier at 02 February 2020, 12:20 PM

GROWING HORNS is a Belgium Doom/Sludge Metal band.  Their debut release is an EP called “The Nobility of Pain.” It also happens to be a banger and stunning first release from such a young band, having formed just a few years ago in 2015.   For a good idea of their sound, think CROWBAR mixed with early MASTODON.  Their overall sound is just dense and crushing, a nonstop parade of riffs, brutal vocals, and the intensity to back it all up.

The first track, “We’re All Made Of Scars,” a banger of an opener.  Feedback and sporadic drumming build the tension together while the background fills up with riffs. Simon's drums complement the atmosphere so well here, something he does consistently throughout the album.  Wim's bass drops hammers in between the Doom/Sludge riffs of Didier and Seven for a duel of who is heavier.  The song opens up at the 1:41 mark when Dafus' vocals arrive.  He has this caustic snarl that ride that line between a heavy grunt and growl—he also uses some higher pitched shrieks, not unlike something one would hear in a Black Metal band.  He is just such a versatile extreme vocalist who really gives the songs life.  The song’s halfway point features very slight uses of melody—enough to give the song an added dimension but not enough to keep it from being heavy as a really heavy thing.

Whereas the opening the track was more on the Sludge side of Doom, the riffs on “Luciferian Kingdom” are a bit more traditional but are still covered in that ultra bombastic guitar tone that even sounds a bit Blackened in places.  Around the 3:39 mark, the band switches gears by dropping the slower groove and upping the tempo.  The result is absolutely crushing and dynamic, showcasing a band that use their chosen genre of style to surprise their listeners.

Mountains of Pain,” throws in melodic guitars that slow down into slow, thick riffs.  The melodic tinges are still there, helped along by the bass, but it is molded into the core of the song well enough that it comes out as more of a downtrodden dirge. Perfect.  The first four minutes or so are a Doom/Sludge fan’s wet dream: a slow, rumbling song that lets the atmosphere soak in while it bludgeons you.  The last half the song sees the band speeding the song up a bit more, the guitar riffs less murky.

After some random, ambient sounds, “Butcher’s Blues,” settles in for one of the heaviest and most abrasive songs on the album.  The bass is potent and drops notes like shrapnel, going hand in hand with the near inhuman vocal approach.  The guitars mix groove and more traditional riffing to great effect, effectively creating a song that has a lot of different parts but never loses its identity. The final track, “2084,” is almost two tracks in one.  The first half is a dirty Doom/Sludge fest with riffs built upon even more riffs.  The second half has a big hardcore feel to it…a surprising amount of energy and fervor leads the song to close down with a guitar solo.

All in all, I am very I impressed with “The Nobility Of Pain.”  With a run time of 31 minutes, you get a decent amount of material but obviously I want to see if they keep the momentum up on a full length release.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. We’re All Made of Scars
2. Luciferian Kingdom
3. Mountains of Pain
4. Butcher’s Blues
5. 2084
Wim Vekeman – Bass
Simon Vandoom – Drums
Didier Cottenies – Guitars
Seven Caes – Guitars
Dafus Demon - Vocals
Record Label: Independent


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