The first time I heard Horrendous was in 2014, Ecdysis was their second full-length album, and it had just been released. I remember thinking that the album art was spectacular, and the band was pretty good. I forgot about them until months later when I started listening to the album again. It wasn't until that point that I really started to fall in love with it. The vocals are pretty harsh, the guitar effects are not especially heavy, and the songs themselves are not laden with over the top riffs or solos. You get what you hear, which is some distinctive, one of a kind, classic-sounding death metal, that almost sounds like it was made 30 years ago.
Since the formation of the band in 2009, Horrendous has released two full-length albums, and will release their third, Anareta on October 27th, 2015. The three member group from the East Coast seems to know what they are doing, and only continue to get better with each release. At first listen, they may sound outdated, or their style undesirable, but to write them off after not hearing the entire album would be doing yourself an irresponsible disservice.
Part of the charm that draws me to this unique old-school style of death metal, is the fact that it sounds old. There are plenty of musicians that use effects and recording methods to get a desired old school sound, but Horrendous does it best with their song writing. The basic formula for death metal is used, but a melodic approach is heavily incorporated. The guitar riffs rise and fall, meandering through the songs, where breaks for melodic solos are strategically placed to build the strength of the song. This binds the strong chords that have been putting in their time to construct the backbone of the song. "The Solipsist (Mirrors Gaze)" is an excellent example of this. It's one of the slower songs, and contains substantial character. At just over 6 minutes in length, and the closing to the album, it's a spectacular finale to a well made album.
The melodic structure the songs exhibit make this an extremely replay-able album. I have put in over 20 listens in two weeks, simply jamming to this groovy, dance worthy music. Each song has its character and swing to it, and it's easy to get excited for each and every track as one song comes to a conclusion, and the next begins. This excitement is rare for me, but the meaningful nostalgia it creates is priceless.
The writing is one of a kind, and for it being just over a year since the bands last a full-length album, I'm surprised at how fresh and new their songs sound. The feel and ideas have grown, and progression since Ecdysis is evident. This is a difficult task for bands, but Horrendous has nailed it.
You will either immensely enjoy Anareta, or you will not enjoy it at all. The sound is not for everyone, but for those who are seasoned metal listeners, this sound is refreshing coming from a 2015 album, that is a contender for a one of the most recognizable albums of the year.