Horned Almighty

Necro Spirituals

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Denmark isn't known for putting out a lot of black metal, certainly not in comparison to Norway and Sweden, which have been two of Europe's most important black metal providers. But Denmark has a jewel of a black metal band in Horned Almighty, whose Necro Spirituals leaves no doubt that these Danes are well aware of black metal's punk and thrash roots. This early 2011 release often recalls the rawness of early black metal, but with a thick production style that is more characteristic of extreme metal in the 21st century, and for all its skull-smashing brutality, there is also a sense of raucous fun that asserts itself on Necro Spirituals. Horned Almighty's work has been described as "black & roll," which is a valid description because thrashy tracks such as "In Jubilation and Disgust," "Blessing the World in Pestilence," and "Fountain of a Thousand Plagues" combine black metal themes and black metal intensity with the sort of high-speed infectiousness that Motörhead are known for. Motörhead, arguably, were the first thrash metal/speed metal band; they were greatly influenced by punk during a pre-Slayer, pre-Megadeth, pre-Metallica era in which punk was still being ignored by most headbangers. And it makes perfect sense that a thrashy black metal band like Horned Almighty would be affected by some aspects of Motörhead's highly influential sound. Horned Almighty take a break from all that thrashiness on "The Blasphemous Burden," which finds them slowing down to a doom metal-ish tempo; while many of their riffs are somewhere between Motörhead and Darkthrone, the riffing on "The Blasphemous Burden" is closer to Black Sabbath and Candlemass. But "The Blasphemous Burden" is the exception rather than the rule, and most of the material is fast enough to send a mosh pit into overdrive. Headbangers who like being reminded of black metal's punk and thrash metal/speed metal roots should give a close listen to this corrosive sledgehammer of an album.

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