Horna - Askel Lahempana Saatanaa
World Terror Committee
Black Metal
10 songs (48:04)
Release year: 2013
World Terror Committee
Reviewed by Goat

For a band with such prolific members, it’s astonishing that Horna are so solid, and Askel Lähempänä Saatanaa is no exception. About as orthodox and traditional as Finnish black metal gets, this is an album of three-to-six minute blasters that exercises your neck as much as it chills your spine. Of course, this being the band’s eighth full-length, it’s natural to expect Shatraug and his horde of Satanists to be well-versed at praising darkness, and they completely deliver. The band is astonishingly together, new-ish vocalist Spellgoth’s bellow a stable part of the Horna sound now, and from blasting drums to lightspeed guitars, Askel Lähempänä Saatanaa could be a masterclass in the traditional black metal sound.

It’s perhaps easy to criticise the production – raw, of course, but highlighting drums and vocals above guitars to such an extent that the latter are reduced to background hums at times. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as you do find yourself focusing harder and appreciating the music more, and this is very much an album that benefits from utter concentration. With eyes closed and senses attuned, Askel Lähempänä Saatanaa is a real aural treat, somewhere between hypnotic and threatening. And I wasn’t lying when I said your neck will be exercised; the tip-tapping groove in Ota Omaksesi Luoksesi is wonderful without compromising on the band’s defiantly underground sound or becoming black n’roll in the slightest.

Yet no-one primarily expects catchiness from Horna, and nobody should. After brief intro Alku, which eerily sets the scene with horror movie synths and a spooky choir, the title track kicks in, a mid-paced rumble soon speeding up as the riffs turn more melodic and fleeting, dancing over the blasts. Kunnia Herralle, Kuninkaalle is a roaring blast in comparison, a breathtaking explosion of fury that’s something like what Krieg would produce if driven to the point of madness, while the following Kuolema Kuoleman Jälkeen focuses more on the riffing atop a gloomy funeral beat. Obviously there’s not a huge amount of variety, but Horna keep the intensity level high as they switch gears. Spellgoth’s vocals shift from despairing to outraged and back again throughout the album, varied and gripping and a excellent person to guide you through the music’s dark embrace. Ei Aikaa Kyyneleille and Kärsimyksin Vuoltu Hänen Valittuna Äänenään are especially good, pushing bleak melodies into your ears delightfully. Nothing earthshaking, all in all, but this is a good, solid album that grows with each listen and is sure to suitably darken the day of any black metal fan.

Killing Songs :
Askel Lähempänä Saatanaa, Ei Aikaa Kyyneleille, Kärsimyksin Vuoltu Hänen Valittuna Äänenään, Ota Omaksesi Luoksesi
Goat quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Horna that we have reviewed:
Horna - Kuoleman Kirjo reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
Horna - Kuolleiden Kuu (EP) reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Horna - Sanojesi Aarelle reviewed by James and quoted 43 / 100
Horna - Envaatnags Eflos Solf Esgantaavne reviewed by Alex and quoted 80 / 100
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