Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Horde Casket - Plague Supremacy EP (2022)

Horde Casket is one of those brutal death outliers whose persistence is notable; a thousand other groups might drop an album or two and then disappear from the niche, these guys have been staying active in the underground these last 15 years, and are now five full-lengths old. While a few of these have been decent, like Slab of Infinite Butchery, they've hardly set my world on fire, but they're certainly competent, and this new digital Plague Supremacy EP offers an 18-minute whirlwind tour of what they bring to the table, with some fresh production, another of their great cover arts, and spoiler: their best songwriting to date. A few of these tunes were put out as singles to test the waters, but they're dressed up here with some decent instrumentals and introes, like the dark and brooding organs and slasher pianos of "Cast Into a Hellish Realm of Horror" and "Drowning in the Depths of Demented Illusions". It's almost like the whole thing is a brutal death metal giallo, although truncated like the necks of some of the victims.

But the real meat are the tunes like the title track, "Tyranny of Blood" and "Raining Chunks", swollen with the start/stop blast beats, roiling tremolo picked guitars and choppy momentum that are hallmarks of the brutal USDM scene which Horde Casket champions. Here they've got this all rather well balanced, it's nothing new, but constantly exciting and gets the hackles up and the pulse quickened. You've got some pinches, guttural grumbles, and lots of fucking chugging, with some ludicrous double bass that will spin your noggin right off your neck, but as flashy as some components might be, it's really how Plague Supremacy all comes together that will impress you, from the hammering verse rhythms to some really epic and awesome lead sequences (I'm lookin at you, "Tyranny of Blood"). This is seasoned, carnal craftsmanship, pure capability, produced just right, and I can't imagine some label like Sevared wouldn't snap this up and get a proper product out into your hands.

Verdict: Win [7.75/10]

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