Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Horde "From Empire to Ashes" CD review

The Horde - From Empire To Ashes (Scenester Credentials )
By Chris Barnes
July 21, 2009

This is so up my alley, that I feel violated. From Empire To Ashes is friggin’ unrelenting Battle Metal that oscillates between Maiden-esque twin axe melodies and teeth-rattling, skull smashing, neck-snapping blasts of rhythmic fury.

The Horde and ex-Burnout (plus a bunch of other bands) guitar player Tim Matthews and I have kept in touch sporadically over the years since meeting at the Stoner Hands of Doom fest in Dallas in the early ‘00’s. He’s a good guy and a lot of the times it takes me awhile to get to reviewing a band’s music. In Tim’s case, the bands seem to breakup before I can get to them – luckily for me and everyone else this wasn’t the case this one. As far as I know, anyway.

For this band, Tim is joined by fellow ex-Burnout brutha John Hopkins on guitar, Bass Player/Vokillist Duncan and Drummer Paul. Tim and John have forsaken the groove-laden Stoner Rock of Burnout for a vicious Crust-laden version of True Metal. Close yer peepers and imagine a crossbreed of Slough Feg melodic sensibilities and Lair of the Minotaur , early Bolt Thrower or the sadly departed Sanctum’s raw, relentless aural punishment as a touchstone for The Horde’s sound.

All the songs are great, but the two best songs on this half-hour n’ change of sword-clashing, spell-chanting and halberd-smashing roiling rock n’ roll are the refined filth of opener “Dogs Of War” and the stadium-chant of “Battle Cry”. The latter, especially, will give you goosebumps if you’re a fan of the pre Post-Metal nonsense bouncing around these days. These are songs that will leave an indelible imprint upon your noggin as they roll right over you like a runaway Panzer.

Singer Duncan utilizes an ‘extreme metal’ voice, but one you can live with both because you can clearly understand the lyrics and second, because no other style would suit the rawness of the songs. It’d be like Dickinson singing Bolt Thrower… it just wouldn’t sound right. Both Tim and John have the twin guitar thing mastered and seamlessly transition from the melodic leads to the crushing rhythms. The result is a cohesive style that I can’t recall hearing before. They take pirate-shirted power metal and plunge it screaming into a vat of mud, blood and flame – the elements of war.

Great collection of songs and very cool cover art by the talented Alan Lathwell . Hope to get these in stock at Hellride sooner than later, I think you guys will really like this. Hope I’m not wrong.

Visit The Horde website at

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