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Horizon Ablaze’s Dødsverk: This Year’s Teethed Glory and Injury?

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Horizon Ablaze - Dødsverk

It could be argued that some of the most intriguing developments in the metal scene are coming out of black metal’s many fringe sub-genres. Deafheaven’s Sunbather topped many year-end lists in 2013, representing post-black metal on a global quasi-mainstream scale. Still, underneath the glitzy post-punk/new-wave romance of post-black metal movement popularized by the likes Deafheaven and Alcest lie the truly groundbreaking oddities; bands that sport black metal’s dark and sinister sound to create maddening soundscapes, avant-garde grandiosity, and truly progressive musical ideas. It may be too early to tell for sure, but one band looking to push boundaries in forward-thinking black metal this year is Norway’s Horizon Ablaze.

Horizon Ablaze features a rich lineup of musicians that are no strangers to critically praised black metal. Vocalist Andrè Kvebek spent the better part of a decade as a guitarist for 1349, and guitarist Shandy McKay is an Absu alumnus, having performed guitars and synths on their celebrated 2009 self-titled album. That lineage in and of itself should be enough to pique interest in the group, but have so far gone relatively unnoticed; their Facebook page bearing under seven-hundred likes as of this writing, and their debut album Spawn was released in 2011 without much fanfare. The band hopes to change that in 2014 with their sophomore release, Dødsverk (Norwegian for “Deathworks”), which is out now on Code666/Aural Music.

From the press release:

“The time has come for Horizon Ablaze to dive deeper into its insanity, with tracks that destroys everything they’ve previously done. The new album is an ultimate testament to hate, where genres mould into something completely unique, and absurd. It’s also the first album where their native language will be the primary means of spewing destructive ideas, uplifting anti theistic views and nihilism. The only concept really touched upon on this record is to make the creepiest, darkest, most fucked up record in aeons, as it is the only way to build upon Spawn’s genuine atmosphere and develop further as a band.”

Of course, creatively written and descriptive press releases aren’t much of a measure on whether or not the music will deliver, but the accompanying rough mix of the album track “Fordømt” (“Condemned”) paints an even more vivid picture of the group’s abstract blackened musicianship, with psychedelic drones, grooving riffs, and a powerful closer that flirts briefly with acoustic guitars.

Last year’s album to beat in the genre was Altar of Plagues’ swansong Teethed Glory and Injury. This year, it’s looking to be Horizon Ablaze’s Dødsverk.

The album is available now on iTunes, but nothing on Bandcamp yet. Someone bug the label to fix this travesty.

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