Horrisonous – adj., Sounding dreadful
I had to look that up, I’ll admit. Let’s take a gander, shall we? See if it holds true…
This Australian quintet released The Plague Doctors EP back in 2016, a six-song foray into old-school death metal, delivered with a hefty doom component. One look at the cover track included on that EP — and another look at the two cover tracks released separately as The Plague Doctor B-Sides — gives a fair indication of the band’s influences and overall approach: the carving bite of Autopsy and Asphyx, and the proto-black-death brilliance of Celtic Frost’s “Circle Of The Tyrants.”
What Horrisonous hasn’t abandoned is their vintage doomy-death aesthetic, which is performed quite capably, even if it’s all a bit rote. Trudging crushing discordant chords fall crashing into thrashier death metal sections and quarter-note-paced tremolo riffs, all beneath Yonn McLaughlin’s midrange guttural snarl. The whole of it is given an airy production that sometimes pushes that vocal back in the mix and allows the songs room to breathe, lending that vintage vibe and space to these straight-ahead riffs and shifting tempos. It’s not atmospheric, per se, at least not in the sense of many modern crypt-dwellers — although those vocals are soaked in cavernous reverberation — but it certainly adds a specific atmosphere.
Each of the component parts of Horrisonous’ sound is strong enough, but they haven’t quite come up with a killer set of songs upon which to hang it. Nothing on the album is bad, nor even less than good, but A Culinary Cacophony has only a few moments that separate themselves from the pack — the galloping riffs and melodies of “A Tale Of Matriphagy,” the lumbering trudge of “Flesh Presented For Orgasmic Torment.” Perhaps tellingly, both of those tracks are the few instances where Horrisonous utilizes their two guitars for more than just pounding home a single riff, that deviation adding texture and nuance to their otherwise no-frills attack.
At the day’s end, Horrisonous certainly doesn’t sound dreadful. It’s vintage death, albeit stuck in the middle of the pack. Somewhere in the back reaches of the crossroads of Bolt Thrower, Asphyx, and Dismember lies Horrisonous. On first listen, I wasn’t blown away, but subsequent spins allowed this Cacophony to take a little further hold — it’s still not phenomenal, but it shows potential. Both The Plague Doctors and A Culinary Cacophony provide a solid foundation to build upon, and now it’s time for Horrisonous to expand outward a bit to find themselves beyond the bands that built them.