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Horrendous - Idol Award winner

by Martin Knap at 08 October 2018, 6:36 AM

HORRENDOUS are back with an album titled “Idol” that is coming out three years after the last album “Anareta”. The four-piece band from Philadelphia has burst on the scene with their sophomore album “Ecdysis” and now is widely recognized as one of the most interesting up and coming US Progressive Death Metal acts out there. Back in 2014 HORRENDOUS was love at first sight (or listen, to be more exact): I loved the complex yet tight songwriting, the blending of aggression and almost sweet melodies, the excellent guitar work and drumming, the abundance of musical ideas in general. They get their inspiration from great Death and Prog Metal bands of the past – DEATH, in particular it seems – but they also have “the Prog mindset”, i.e. they are actually Progressive and not stick in the past like so many bands nowadays. The 2015 release “Ecdysis” solidified the band’s reputation as a top-notch band and now we’re here with their latest effort.

The album starts with an brief atmospheric intro titled “Prescience”. It sets the tone of the album not only musically but also lyrically. I can’t speak much of the lyrics, but they seem to have some kind of mystic Jungian undertones and I promise that I will take time to study them in the future. “Soothsayer” is a rather punchy song with crazy riffing and a one-word chorus – the vocalist has that visceral scream perhaps inspired by Chuck Schuldiner – where the scream is harmonized with a cool melodic riff. It sounds dope as hell. “The Idolater” starts off slowly but soon transitions into a muscular groove, there is mid-section with very shrill guitar chords, after which there is a release of tension in a form of an almost sweet lead melody that streams like water flowing from a river cascade.

Golden Tongue” kills it with some great melodic riffs, it has a very nice bridge with “tribal” and some nice vocal harmonies, that heighten the emotional charge.  After the bridge, there is a prolonged instrumental section with great soloing. “Divine Anhedonia” shifts between in your face vitriol and aggression and an almost laid-back, jazzy tone. “Devotion (Blood for Ink)” has a pronounced Punk/Thrash Metal vibe to it, the riffs are straight-up VOIVOD-esque. The song has a melancholic jazzy mid-section with clean singing, that sounds trippy, especially in the context of the song. The album at circa eight and a half minute epic “Obolus”, which showcases the band’s songwriting chops and talent to come up with good musical ideas. The song ebbs and flows, there are great lead melodies and instrumental and vocal arrangements.

I’m not sure if I like this album better than “Ecdysis”, the latter one seems to have a more immediate appeal (or more memorable songs), but “Idol” seems to me to be the more mature work. In any case it is a rewarding listen and I’m far from done with this one.

Songwriting: 9
Memorability: 8
Originality: 9
Production: 9


4 Star Rating

1. Prescience
2. Soothsayer
3. The Idolater
4. Golgothan Tongues
5. Divine Anhedonia
6. Devotion (Blood for Ink)
7. Threnody
8. Obolus
Jamie Knox: Drums
Damian Herring: Guitars, Vocals, Keyboards
Matt Knox: Guitars, Vocals
Alex Kulick: Bass
Record Label: Season of Mist


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Edited 07 June 2023

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