HORNA
"Ääniä Yössä"

(Moribund)

01. Raiskattu Saastaisessa Valossa
02. Noutajan Kutsu
03. Mustan Surman Rukous
04. Ääni Yössä

RATING: 7.5/10

Rotting floorboards creak underfoot, a pungent smell in the air that's just shy of recognizable, and a constant chill that virtually pulses through the body. Images of the macabre and feelings of dread, it all combines to form the kind of vision only the truest Scandinavian black metal conjures. It is the kind of black metal created by HORNA on "Ääniä Yössä", the journeyman band's Moribund debut.

You will wonder about the darker, more misanthropic sound of "Ääniä Yössä", compared to "Envaatnags Eflos Solf Esgantaavne" (The End/Woodcut), especially since the blackened grooves are noticeably scarce. Could it be that HORNA took a turn down bleaker paths since the recording of the "previous" long-player? Not quite. The "new" album's four tracks (43 minutes) were recorded entirely by Shatraug (guitars) and Corvus (vocals) and were not intended to comprise a HORNA album in the first place, and were recorded during the last quarter of 2004 and first quarter of 2005. Having found a comfortable home in Moribund, we can all be grateful that "Ääniä Yössä" ultimately turned into a HORNA release.

Together with the enveloping sinister aura, "Ääniä Yössä" is a rawer, bloodier, and more hypnotic effort than "Envaatnags Eflos Solf Esgantaavne". There are standard-beat, mostly up-tempo moments, such as the whole of "Noutajan Kutsu" and during the tempo changes on "Raiskattu Saastaisessa Valossa", but the album is, generally speaking, one more about atmosphere. It is the crawling fright of "Mustan Surman Rukous" and the XASTHUR-esque, trance-like qualities of the 22-minute title track that burn deep into the flesh. In fact, it is that same title track with its long and repetitive section of airy guitar and, for lack of a better description, hypnotic pummel that you'll most likely remember most about "Ääniä Yössä".

It is quality HORNA as usual, even if it is not groundbreaking. If it is kvlt you seek, then it is kvlt you shall get on "Ääniä Yössä". And one final side note: some have tossed around the notion that HORNA is a NSBM band, spouting vitriol of the master race variety. Read the following statement from Shatraug and then try to dispute it (hopefully with proof): "Another lingering question is the accusations of being a political band. HORNA has never been and never to be a political band nor do any of the band's lyrics have such content. We are Satanist, heathen, black metal. What any ex-member might represent is not what we stand for. For once and all, may it be clear."

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