HIMSA
"Hail Horror"

(Prosthetic)

01. Anathema
02. Sleezevil
03. The Destroyer
04. Pestilence
05. Wither
06. Wolfchild
07. Seminal
08. They Speak in Swarms
09. Calling in Silent
10. Send Down Your Reign

RATING: 7/10

I guess I should have paid more attention to Seattle's HIMSA in the past, assuming that albums like 2003's "Courting Tragedy and Disaster" are as solid as "Hail Horror". I suppose one could make an argument for a vague metalcore sound on "Hail Horror", but most of what I am hearing is modern, Swedish-inflected American metal with a fundamental thrash center and a ton of crunch. The 10 songs utilize no clean vocals and possess just enough melody to be memorable. Though there is nothing particularly unique about HIMSA's style, the approach is honest, aggressive, and quite likeable.

Bangin' along to each of the 10 tightly performed and hard-edged compositions I couldn't help but think that just as Relapse bands (excluding the varied and esoteric end of the catalogue) have a generally identifiable sound, so do the acts on Prosthetic have a style that is immediately recognizable. Listen to CANNAE's "Gold Becomes Sacrifice" followed by a spin of "Hail Horror" and you will hear some similarities, among them the biting guitar tone, kick drum pummeling rhythms, and the full-on-all-the-time vocal approach of Johnny Pettibone (HIMSA) and Adam DuLong (CANNAE). Let me preempt any whining about the comparisons by simply stating that there is a similar aesthetic at work here, rather than a cookie cutter mentality. Besides, I find HIMSA's work to be a bit more enjoyable.

Anyway, before I digress even further, let me point out that "Hail Horror" succeeds because the group maintains a consistent quality across each of the 10 tracks. Songs like "The Destroyer", "Pestilence", "Wither", and "Seminal" (the standouts in my mind) snort, flail, and crush, yet utilize subtle guitar harmonies that add much more depth than is immediately apparent. The choruses by no means leap out and shake the stuffing out of you, but do provide something to grab hold of and remember. Repeat listens reward too. So yeah, HIMSA not only got my attention, but also made for some enjoyable listening sessions.

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