Originally written by Jeremy Garner
Horna has been around for a bit more than a decade at this point, and I feel somewhat embarrassed in mentioning this is the first time I’ve ever really sat down and listened to the band’s work extensively. But I’d like to think my ignorance is somewhat vindicated in realizing I’ve been missing out on a pure gem of a band.
The music presented on Ääni Yössä practically reeks of death and decay, a putrid and pernicious fog of malevolence and despair envelopes the listener through 45 minutes of destitute nihilism. Maybe I’m getting a bit too pedantic by mentioning this, but they are one of those bands with an overwhelming propensity to create the same sort of pervasive and all encompassing dread the existentialists sought to capture in their writing. Horna’s purely unabashed minimalist filth and dark, murky production rears forth from the speakers like an exhumed corpse dripping with decayed flesh.
I might be mildly overstretching the truth in saying that Horna plays a style akin to the suicidal American black metal of Azrael and Xasthur, but it’s the closet comparison of mood and atmosphere I know how to make. Generally speaking I prefer my black metal furious and unrelenting, but what I enjoy the most about Horna is their patience. It’s rather refreshing to hear a band willing to take their time. The bleak atmosphere of “Raiskattu Saastaisessa Valossa” progressively washes over the listener by slowly rolling through a theme and variation format of subtle melodic progressions and nearly imperceptible peaks and crescents before trudging pulse and subtle groove of “Noutajan Kutsu”. The melancholy, yet distinctly ugly musings of “Mustan Surman Rukous” along with the harsh unsettling persistence of twenty minute long “Ääni Yössä” finishes off the album without much surprise or fanfare, but to their advantage Horna have managed to create a tidal wave of poignantly unsettling horror.
Yes, the material can get a bit repetitive and there’s not a whole plethora of development, but that’s the point. I sometimes found myself squirming uncomfortably in my chair while listening to the album, but it just so happens I love my black metal physically painful on some level. Any music that can create that powerful a physical effect on the listener is well worth experiencing in my book. Ääni Yössä wasn’t made to be beautiful or pleasant, best keep your distance from this sort of thing if you like your metal theatrical and happy, Horna isn’t that sort of band. This isn’t a revolutionary album, nor is it an album that really accomplishes much, but therein lies its beauty.