Why do all imagined beings from other worlds come with tentacles these days? Ah, yes. Because, you know, Lovecraft. The long-gone horror fiction writer with his motley bunch of cosmic horrors at his undead beck and call. And then, perhaps, because an octopus is indeed a weird and almost alien being, living right here on earth in places where we measly humans can’t exist.
And who would have thought that Thy Row would get some serious competition – still in 2021. So, Black Soul Horde indeed rushes on the scene with their Cthulhu-infested piece Horrors From The Void at an energy level that – sometimes – would make old Iron Maiden blush.
The record is stuffed to the gills with all those goodies that made Heavy Metal famous. Right from the get-go, the band hits you with this old-style kinda ’80s brand of our favorite metal genre. And it’s so full of clichés, I could probably name-drop the record to death. But let’s not quite go there – for now. Because Black Soul Horde here masterfully took what worked for them and hit one big giant metal blender to make their very own sauce. Or fried calamari, whatever comes first.
To put it another way, you won’t hear anything really new on Horrors from the Void. Nor would we expect to find novelties. But these guys know how to push the right buttons in a way to make this grizzled metalhead suddenly listen up. And this is up and including some weird monologues and awfully cheesy horror game ready dialogues that suddenly pop up out of nowhere.
That the vocalist doesn’t try to beat whatever insane metal screams we already suffered through on other albums is a blessing, too. Instead, you get a decent, reasonably high-pitched wail. Kind of reminiscent of the age-old Hard Rock masters, like early Rainbow for instance. But you – for sure – won’t get to the wild hollering of the early metallists of the mid-’80s. Even if you’ll be treated to some ‘Iä!’ themed howls a bit further down the tracklist. As good Cthulhu adepts must, of course.
Black Soul Horde indeed play a version of Heavy Metal that often draws from South American influences. Even if the starting blows of Horrors From The Void hint at some earlier Sorcerer without reinventing the wheel. And this – noblesse oblige – with that tangy doom flavor we often crave.
The tracks generally oscillate between mid-tempo and reasonably tempered high-speed attacks. But the horde here rides Heavy Metal like some proud magician who finally conquered that mountain of madness and just wrought destruction on the tentacled slimy monster. Soaring solos, beefy riffs, and maidenesque gallops galore make up the meat and potatoes of this record. This is metal with an evilly acrid punch. Something we started to miss yet again over the last year or so.
So, and what about those highlights? For sure, Lair of the Wolf will talk to the speedos here on the ‘zine. Its no-fluff, no-nonsense approach to Heavy Metal really sold us. Whereas Beneath The Mountains Of Madness – the starting shot – will talk to friends of modern contemporary Heavy Metal.1) Doomy to taste with a burly approach to riffing and soloing, you’ll constantly feel the aforementioned Sorcerer lurking in the background.
Yet finally, Horrors from the Void is an accomplished record. A pretty pristine production that reaches us in an avalanche of tentacles, amorphous flesh, and tall dreary tales about howling horrors and alien invasion. In a way, Black Soul Horde created that perfect fantasy record that sails on that mighty wave of all that Heavy Metal stands for. And – yet again – this shows us that this genre is far from dead and we have new(er) bands that will be able to take over from the old guard.
As they say, Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn! So, sweet terrible dreams to our favorite monster, and let’s just hope there will be more horrifying stories from this band in the (near) future.
|1.||If that’s a thing at all.|