Horn – Turm am Hang (2017)

At this point in time, Horn is an identity unto itself, heedless of whatever genre constraints one wants to impose on it. Unabashedly melodic but in all the right ways, unafraid to refer to styles on the peripheries of black metal proper like punk/RAC and new wave, this project when on song succeeds brilliantly in evoking the musty detritus of eras past. Far too often is it said by the callous and the flippant that metal is all about being free and doing as you please. It may be that too within certain non-negotiable parameters which escape this crowd, but what Horn demonstrates so stalwartly is that regardless of technique, there is only one true insurmountable feeling common to all real metal, and that is the feeling of being in the presence of something ineffably awesome and humbling, even when you are in fact in the midst of the depressing urban sprawl. No other modern, popular form of music concerns itself so obsessively with subjects that reach across and beyond the meager dominion of human comprehension. Horn, and all real metal, at least try, and in that lies the great spiritual philosophy of our music.

Turm am Hang sees Nerrath refine the songwriting style which he has been developing since Konflikt. Where earlier albums represented an abstract take on the beauty found in the untamed wild , the material since Konflikt has been far more cohesive in vision and execution. History, by all appearances, has taken the place of impersonal nature in Nerrath’s affections; the change of theme has been accompanied with a more direct and interactive style of delivery. The listener is no longer insulated from the goings-on; the curtain between artist and audience is lifted and the latter is now an active agent in the lush images painted by the music; at one time a soldier bedraggled, at another a serf returning home after the day’s toil, the effect is palpable and ripe with a sad kind of empathy.

Like previous albums, Turm am Hang initially feels too straightforward to a listening sensibility used to more extreme music. Neoclassical and folk implements, upbeat changes in tempo, and clean singing are liberally used, but if the listener persists, he can’t fail to realize the iron-bound writing logic underlying these “accessible” maneuvers. As mentioned in earlier reviews, Nerrath is a singer-songwriter at heart, albeit working within the metal paradigm. The label may raise a few eyebrows, but it is the truest, purest description of Horn‘s music that I can make.

 

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