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Horde - Hellig Usvart

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This album was released back in 1995. I paid $30 for it then. It is still the most money I have ever paid for a CD. Five years later, I still feel like it was money well spent. Earlier this year Rowe Productions was kind enough to re-release this ground-breaking album. For all intents and purposes, it was the Christian market's first introduction to black metal. I had never even heard of black metal when I bought it. I was a huge death metal fan, but when HM gave it a good review and Steve Rowe advertised it as the most extreme band ever, I had to give it a try. Now I enjoy black metal more than death metal. This album was created by a single person going by the name Anonymous. It was a direct counter-attack on the Norwegian black metal scene and the Satanism that it embraced (or so I've been told). There were several death threats made by satanists, even to Nuclear Blast Records, who released the album. This album is pure black metal from beginning to ending. It's not the best I've ever heard, but it's an album definitely worth listening too, if just to experience the extreme intensity. The music is dark, it's brutal, it's fast, and it will rip you to shreds. The vocals and drumming are probably the two biggest highlights of the album. In fact, when this album was first released, a friend and I used to argue about it. He said they had to have used a drum machine because the drumming was so intense that he didn't think any drummer (at least in the Christian music world) could keep up for so long. I disagreed. Later in 1996, I was proven right when I found out who was behind the whole project. My friend then agreed that if anyone in the Christian market could play drums like that, then it had to be that drummer. The lyrics, believe it or not, are even more intense than the music. They are a direct, head-on attack against Satanism. With song titles like, "Blasphemous Abomination of the Satanic Penagram", "Invert the Inverted Cross", and "Crush the Bloodied Horns of the Goat", you can tell that Anonymous isn't here to beat around the bush. My favorite lyrics would have to be in the song, "Thine Hour Hast Come", referring to Satan: "So fallen thou art, as lightening to earth. Having once Angelic Splendor, now the vilest abomination. An abode for maggots thou art, a shame that once so beautiful. All is lost, to become nothing!" You can almost hear the devil screaming in anger and disgust when those lyrics are sung. I love every song, but the standout cuts would have to be, "Weak, Feeble, Dying, Antichrist", "An Abandoned Grave Bathes Softly in the Falling Moonlight", and "Drink from the Chalice of Blood". The vocals are pure black metal shrieking all the way though. With slight growls at times like in the song "Crush the Bloodied Horns of the Goat". It's a shame that this is the one and only release by Horde. I would've loved to hear more. I think this album was made more than anything, to make a point. It made that point loud and clear, and it also kicked the door wide open and paved the way for many Christian black metal bands in the future to bring the light of Christ to an extremely dark music scene.  (Review by Matt)

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