Monday, August 29, 2011

Burial Hordes - War, Revenge and Total Annihilation (2006)

One of the more wretched and vile Greek black metal entities, the Burial Hordes were unearthed in the early 21st century to wreak havoc through a number of scathing demos that culled influence from the very roots of the black metal genre. Both first and second wave sounds are heard in their punishing meat sculptures, from Bathory and Celtic Frost to Mayhem, and at least here on their debut, they have this nasty take no prisoners mentality involving an incendiary and writhing addiction to blasted speed that they wisely alternate with breakdowns into moody, dissonant nightmares or surges of mid-paced, spine rocking chords that summon up memories of Hellhammer and Darkthrone.

War, Revenge and Total Annihilation is all too apt a title for their full-length debut, for while it might not be the most unique or enduring slab of black aggression on the block, it is without any doubt destructive. Ominous, dark tolling heralds the churning mass of "Bestial Bloodwar" which is just so caustic and loud that it peels any layers remaining, epidermal innocence from the skin of the listener. "Aeons of Hell" baits the audience with further lightning fervor before lurching into a twist of colon crushing chords. The architecture of hostile, minor melodies that introduce "Cosmic Genocide" drip like nihilistic vampire fangs over its bruising black acceleration, and "The Rapture of Hatred" builds itself brick by brick like a tower of blood-mortared stones. Of course, if you seek simply to have your face ripped off by songs that make Marduk and Mayhem sound like elevator muzak, then Burial Hordes also provides you with fare like "Unholy, Ultra-Violent Domination" and "Army of Heretics" which will reduce you to nuclear ash.

Filthy, indomitable, and borne of pure punishing abyss-winds, this is a debut destined to appeal to those that seek out black metal for no other reason than skull fractures and slipped vertebrae. In this way, they remind me of the more extreme Northern storms like 1349, but with a mildly less surgical and technical approach to the riff writing. The mix of the guitars is both rich and textured, even if the riffs themselves do not exactly stand outside of the hellish sum of the band's parts. Burial Hordes represent savage efficiency and truth to despotic ideals more so than any sense for subtlety or complexity, and as such, there is an undeterred authenticity to their sound, which trumps several of their Greek peers (Naer Mataron, etc) in pure hostility. Several of the members here have played in numerous other scene bands (Mortuus Caelum, Enshadowed, and Dead Congregation to name a few), and the experience shows.

That said, War, Revenge and Total Annihilation is not the most memorable concussion in its field. Decidedly less retro than its successor (Devotion to Unholy Creed), it's merely a competent and crashing execution of the form, with decent lyrics. Difficult to pick out or recall even a single guitar line from the entire album, but unquestionably unbridled in its fury.

Verdict: Win [7/10]
(embraced by the absolute)

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