I’ve always been an admirer of Horn’s nearly unrivaled ability to convey the perennial beauty of nature while concurrently evoking feelings of desolation amidst the vastness of Mother Nature. Even though nature-esque black metal is not a new concept, with countless post-second wave bands aligning with this theme, Horn has always somehow stood apart from the crowd. Perhaps it was their characteristically brazen guitars that sat so high in the mix, with epic riffs that always had a hint of despair or longing. Even the cliché cover art of forests and mountains seemed appropriate because the music itself just melded perfectly with the image. It wasn’t until their album Naturkraft that Horn seemed to move in a different direction. A rather unsuccessful experiment, Naturkraft had more progressive riffs but just didn’t seem to go anywhere. Lost were the perfect vibes of the prior albums.
With Distanz, Horn has regained their ability to create both an atmosphere and a world for the listener to enter. Distanz is equal parts a “typical” Horn album and the successful progression that Naturkraft was not. The sound is very similar to older Horn, the same guitar tone, vocals, pacing. This time around though, Horn eschews the forest/mountain vibe in favor of the vast expansiveness of the ocean. The slight echo effect on the guitars in the intro to “The Grandest of All Blades,” the ambient-synth break in “Die Heimat, Die Keiner Kannte,” and the entirety of “Out There, Nowhere…,” all contribute to this overall oceanic adventure.
Now, I could be totally misguided on this nautical interpretation. Heck, it took me a few listens before I could even narrow in on the exact vibe I was getting. In all honesty, the cover art probably fostered this analysis, with its depiction of a ship sailing from a dock off into the distance(z). Regardless, it’s too late for a reinterpretation. Distanz will always be a maritime black metal release for me. That’s totally fine. It’s nice to experience something new in the black metal genre, let alone in a Horn album. In fact, the occurrence of “ocean adventure” black metal albums are way too few and far in between. This is a nearly unexplored area of metal! Forget the viking/Nordic legends and the satanic riffraff, the future of black metal lies in the sea.
Label: Black Blood Records
Avantgenre: Aquatic Desolate Landscape Metal
Official site: http://www.myspace.com/hornofficial
Review online since: 14.07.2010 / 08:48:03
01 – Überall Und überallem
02 – Die Verlorene Rotte
03 – A Stranger Homeward Bound
04 – Die Heimat, Die Keiner Kannte
05 – Borders, Lands And Shores
06 – The Grandest Of All Blades
07 – Out There, Nowhere…
08 – To Granne Trakk