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Unholy Desecration – Unholy Horde

Unholy Desecration
Unholy Horde
by Santiago Puyol at 03 May 2020, 8:47 PM

American Blackened Death Metal band UNHOLY DESECRATION released their debut full-length album "Unholy Horde", a ten-track, 52-minute musical journey through vicious, sick and bloody brutality. Following their 2018 EP "Born of Evil", and featuring reworked versions of the three tracks from that release, "Unholy Horde" mixes elements of both Death Metal and Black Metal with dashes of classic Thrash and a Hardcore energy at some points, making for a downright evil and merciless sound.

The band succeeds in bookending the album with the best tracks here. Opener "Praise My Hell" and closer "Seeds of Rebellion" show the dynamic and complex side of the band, with its tight riffing, tasteful soloing and complex drumming. The former is pure, unhinged intensity, ripping through your ears from the very beginning. A percussive and almost groovy track at points. "Seeds of Rebellion" is simply the most diverse song of the bunch, going through several tempo changes. Slower in general, with a slight Doom atmosphere.

The album seems to move between shorter, more focused tracks, and some expansive, meanding songs that go beyond the five-minute mark. UNHOLY DESECRATION tend to shine more on the shorter songs overall, with some truly fun bangers taking a page or two from old school Thrash and a slight Punkish feel ("Dawn of Evil", "As She Walks") or going for full-on Death Metal assault ("Born of Evil").

Some of the longer songs do not justify their length and end up sounding a tad repetitive ("Beastial Lust", "At One with Hell"). Although they mostly work on the album and fit nicely placed in the tracklist, a little bit of self-editing could have been a good idea. The band is talented with their instruments, as the musicianship is more than remarkable, and they have some impressive songwriting skills; sometimes it just seems they love their ideas a little too much to know when to put them to rest.

The lengthy format does work on a few occasions, such as the weird and shifting title track with its odd samples, percussive sounds and creative arrangements. Or the melodic and vaguely Eastern "Blades of War"; some rich guitar work on this one, as it takes a “Brian May meets Dave Murray” detour on the last minute. "Sacrifice" makes the most of both sides of the band, feeling very focused for its first two minutes, and going through different moods and feels on the second half of the song.

The self-editing also applies to some weird decisions, like ending the record so abruptly, specially with its closer being the strongest lengthy track here. A fade-out or at least a brief, little taste of room ambience at the very end could have been a better way to close off the album. Overall, UNHOLY DESECRATION succeed on the promise of delivering a brutal album that punches you right on the face, the throat and the ears. It is an exhausting but mostly enjoyable ride, and one that leaves you waiting for more things to come from this band, especially if you like your music demonic, dazzling and violent.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 6
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Praise My Hell
2. Beastial Lust
3. Dawn of Evil
4. As She Walks
5. Unholy Horde
6. Blades of War
7. Sacrifice
8. At One with Hell
9. Born of Evil
10. Seeds of Rebellion
Line-up unavailable
Record Label: Confused Records


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