Horn‘s Nerrath has been developing his project in the underground since 2003 but has eluded even remotely mainstream notice for that duration, becoming yet another casualty under the barrage of information. Which is not to say that his output has been of an always consistent quality, but exploring this band’s back catalog is an intriguing prospect if for nothing else then only because there exists an undeniably individualist streak to its music, a commodity increasingly dearer in newer metal. As alluded to elsewhere on these pages, metalheads don’t necessarily look for genius in every new artist that they come across, for that would be foolhardy and perhaps even devalue the somewhat unquantifiable definition of genius itself.
Spirit, however, shines through the muck, and it is here that Horn excels as a man’s vision converted to music. Konflikt‘s cover contains the silhouette of a poncho-clad soldier from the early years of the last century, contemplating the way through a coniferous wood to the snow-clad peaks of the Carpathian mountain ranges, or maybe the Swiss Alps. Deliberate or not, this initial impression of martial heroism carries over into the music; Konflikt is a black metal album of rousing, old-world melodies that perfectly captures the essence of deeds from a forgotten era.
Previous Horn albums have included missteps in the form of jarring punk transitions that have lessened the sum effect of the music. Konflikt, however, seems like a distillation and then a coagulation of this project’s strengths into what is now a more evenly layered musical experience. Occasional experimentation in the shape of more exotic instruments is found here, and melodies are instantly, and uniformly, accessible, but neither facet cheapens or detracts from what is a pensive and moving underground black metal album.