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Horned Almighty - "Necro Spirituals" (CD)

Horned Almighty - "Necro Spirituals" CD cover image

"Necro Spirituals" track listing:

1. Necro Spirituals (4:11)
2. Fountain of a Thousand Plagues (3:28)
3. Sworn Divine Vengeance (3:48)
4. Age of Scorn (2:58)
5. In Jubilation and Disgust (4:54)
6. Blessing the World in Pestilence (3:33)
7. The Illuminated Void (4:24)
8. Blasphemous Burden (4:03)
9. Absolved in the Sight of God (4:38)

Reviewed by on January 30, 2011

"Horned Almighty is down with evil, ready to pounce on the holy, and tear the roof off the nearest church with a grim smile from ear to ear."

Music doesn’t always need to have some inner purpose or enlightening message. Sometimes, all an album has to do is have the force and power of a rubber mallet to the groin. “Necro Spirituals” is one such example. Horned Almighty is down with evil, ready to pounce on the holy, and tear the roof off the nearest church with a grim smile from ear to ear. Their energetic black metal has hints of God Dethroned and Goatwhore in its core, and the nine tracks are hateful spats tied in a neat, catchy package.

Horned Almighty has had three albums to work the kinks out, and the confidence beams out of every riff on “Necro Spirituals.” This is music to move to, to get neck muscles bulging and strained from excessive head-banging. It’s hard to stay still when the title track thrusts out of the speakers, a seismic blast of metal with a singular purpose: to maim and slaughter. This goal is accomplished ten-fold, as the band keeps their sights on delivering compact, leveled waves of aggression throughout the tight 35-minutes running length. The deviation is small, but a lack of variety is not an issue for the band.

This is because of the catchy groove buried within the distortion and vicious growls. The band doesn’t switch things up so much as they tinker with the formula. “In Jubilation and Disgust” has a superb melodic lead that takes up a large portion of the closing moments. The duo of “Blasphemous Burden” and “Absolved In The Sight Of God” works under a sludge pace, most evident with the bass-led intro to the former. The slower tempo works in the band’s favor, an effective way to stifle the band’s toxic sound until the appropriate time.

Still, Horned Almighty is at their prime when a killer speed demon like “Age Of Scorn” rapes the eardrums. Hostile as hell and a havoc onto itself, three minutes is all that is required to leave a lasting mark on the listener. “Blessing The World In Pestilence” garnishes the same reaction; it doesn’t hurt that the song has a title that is meant to be screamed at the nearest pedestrian with scorn. For somebody that hates the very thought of humanity surviving past 2012, “Fountain Of A Thousand Plagues” is a daily anthem to get out of bed to.

“Necro Spirituals” is the antidote to the black metal blues. There's no lifeless production or endless blasting to be located. This is an infectious side of the genre not seen very often, one that should be exploited more often. With a little nod to death metal, Horned Almighty has put together an exhilarating album that will get a stamp of approval from those that thought “Carving Out The Eyes Of God” was the be-all, end-all album of 2009.

Highs: Energetic black metal, sludgy moments near the end, surprisingly catchy

Lows: Some people may find the songs to sound too similar to each other

Bottom line: Hate-filled music has never sounded so catchy on Horned Almighty's killer fourth album.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)