It’s always interesting to see what bands come up with when their members are comprised of musicians that are primarily known for another style of metal. Maryland’s Thonian Horde fits this description as its members have all been involved in various parts of the doom/heavy rock spectrum for some time but with this project they’ve turned to black metal. After releasing a self-titled debut last year the group has readied a follow-up titled ‘Inconnu’, which Grimoire Records will be putting out on September 22nd. Today we’re premiering the ninth track on the album Organized Oppression, which showcases their ability to deliver raw black metal alongside rock grooves.
There’s a lot happening throughout ‘Inconnu’, as the instrumentals never fall into what one might consider a generic black ‘n roll framework. That particular tag is one that brings a certain sound to mind, and while Thonian Horde does sometimes go for that abrasive black metal meets simple grooves that bring newer Satyricon to mind, their doom background makes the rock sections feel genuinely different. Organized Oppression is a great example, though compared to much of the album it is one of the more straightforward black metal songs. The guitar and bass work start off at a slower tempo, letting the notes hover over the recording before they break free into a flurry of faster riffs and blast beats. This back and forth approach between the blasting and mid-tempo sections works well to catch the listener’s attention and create a murky, dirty atmosphere, but Thonian Horde doesn’t stop there. At around the three quarter mark the instrumentation opens up even more, letting some subtle rock grooves and drum fills seep in and even including some ripping solos that have some thrash influences. Though the tonality has been wrapped in black metal’s filth and grime, it still has some of doom’s weight and earthier textures. Grimoire’s handiwork gives the recording a natural sound that makes it sound like the band is performing right in front of you, and that’s definitely the right approach for what this band is going for. Plus the vocal work of bassist Ron “FeZZ” McGinnis is damn appealing, as he has one of those shrill high pitched screams that towers over the recording and feels like it’s grabbing you by the throat for the entire album.
Black ‘n roll is one of those genre tags that makes some people wary, as it often suggests a watering down of the style’s usual elements. But Thonian Horde uses the doom/rock and black metal combo to their advantage, with songs that provide a good deal of twists and turns. The heavier grooves and attention to riff worship combined with jagged, abrasive edges and an overall murkier sound is appealing, and these guys have left themselves with room to keep pushing it further and further as they keep going. ‘Inconnu’ releases September 22nd on Grimoire Records.