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Horns Of Anguish - "Everlasting Apathy" (CD/EP)

Horns Of Anguish - "Everlasting Apathy" CD/EP cover image

"Everlasting Apathy" track listing:

1. Ominous (9:31)
2. On The Wings Of Salvation (7:12)
3. A New Bred Plague (8:01)

Reviewed by on September 26, 2008

"Each of these tracks is in it for the long haul, building on previous ideas over the course of the entire song."

Metal doesn’t always have to be high concept art that requires serious attention and multiple spins to fully understand, nor does it need to swing to the opposite extreme of brainless head banging with juvenile angst-ridden lyrics. Sometimes the genre just needs something floating lazily along the middle, straddling the line between deeper meanings and music to burn down the world while listening to. Echoing established bands with long and drawn out riffs where the vocals aren’t as important as the overall music itself, Horns of Anguish presents three sonic journeys between seven and ten minutes long on their debut EP “Everlasting Apathy.”

The first thirty seconds of opening track “Ominious” gives off a by-the-numbers impression that would lead many to believe the music is some sort of thrash or death act that’s been heard a thousand times before and certainly doesn’t need to be rehashed over again here. The more interesting sounds come along soon enough with a trick that is used frequently throughout the EP of switching between mono and stereo sound to signal changes in the structure of the song. Each of these tracks is in it for the long haul, building on previous ideas over the course of the entire song. There may be occasional forays in new directions, but these are only temporary diversions which will again in turn be thrown into the overall mix before another change comes along so it too can be gobbled up by the ever growing horde of sound. The dragged out musical ideas don’t ever go all the way into the drone genre, but they do sometimes go on just a little too long, begging for some extra variation or even a shorter run time all together.

These songs are all about the guitar play, with frequent layering of multiple guitar parts together, as the electric guitar wrestles the place of top supremacy from the other instruments time and again. The bass parts are clearly audible and even intermittently serve as the main hook of a song, but in the long run they are just backing rhythm for the all important distorted guitars. The drumming also keeps a nice steady beat going, but rarely attempts anything that would draw too much attention to itself. Even the vocals stay out of the front for the most part, when they show up at all. Most of the EP doesn’t bother with narrative storytelling, instead allow the strings to do the talking. On the rare occasions when vocals do show up they tend to stick to the harsh yelling style, with dips into throat grating screams, similar to that found from bands like Venom that don’t go for a total demonic growl.

There is a strong disparity between the three songs that is the most compelling characteristic of “Everlasting Apathy.” While the opening track has that fast fist pounding feel, the second song is much more muted and downplayed, and then the final act is deeply distorted and more mid-paced than anything heard earlier. The switch between rhythmic and energetic sounds to glum noises good for reminiscing about old times and then a meshing of the two is what gives the EP its identity, and will probably be the make or break quality for whether someone will be a fan of the music.

Horns of Anguish aren’t exactly stoner metal, but the music would work well in the background as people pass around the bong or load up the vaporizer. It’s heavy enough that most metal heads will dig it, regardless of particular genre preference, but there’s also enough strong contrast between the guitar parts to make it good for those far out or deeply personal conversations that only tend to come around while in an altered state of consciousness.

Highs: Epic building of musical ideas and strong contrasts between guitar parts to draw you in to the music

Lows: Some parts drag on too long and there aren't many vocals to hook the listener

Bottom line: Metal good enough that anyone could dig it in the right setting, but lacks anything that makes it stand out from the crowd

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

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)