Horrendous – Anareta (2015)

Horrendous - Anareta (2015)
Horrendous is evolving. They’re not content to merely be one of our masochistic metal victims, so they’ve been gradually and haphazardly incorporating more jazz fusion and djent influences into what was previously a Heartwork inflected sound, and what continues to partially stink of it. What entertains me so much about Anareta is how neatly compartmentalized these two styles are and therefore how little they interact, making for perhaps two EPs stitched together and all sorts of increasingly implausible hypotheses about the band’s songwriting and tracking process that distract from the main issue at hand. Neither half of Anareta is exactly a sterling example of what already are difficult styles to pull off well in a metal context.

The “progressive” side of Horrendous leads off the album and appears to occupy significantly more of its runtime. This part of the recording emphasizes its internal rhythms – it is midpaced, replete with offbeats and odd time signatures, and it showcases some complicated interplay with the local guitarwork. I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the band is at least trying to make something interesting and complicated, but there are a couple of problems with their approach. One admittedly trivial (but strangely attention-grabbing) flaw is that they have no idea how to write introductions to their tracks; therefore, many of Anareta‘s tracks begin with a minute or so of pseudo-random gassing. More importantly, the emphasis on surface rhythmic complexity isn’t matched by a willingness to expand the percussive textures that underlie it. Furthermore, the guitar tracks above this, while benefiting from the rhythmic prowess of the band, rarely allow their actual riff content to escape from the traditional metal and rock tropes that hold the band back. At the very least, Horrendous will need to severely edit their tracks and develop a better sense of narrative composition in order to master this substyle.

While it’s pointless to judge whether vaguely “progressive” metal is better or worse than generic melodeath and Stockholm syndrome, the gradual shift in emphasis towards the former over the band’s career suggests that if they keep going, they might have a genuinely good album on their hands in a few years. Anareta definitely hasn’t reached that point yet, being too haphazard and scatterbrained in its ambitions to really hit home, while still occasionally lapsing into straight up generic guitar pop.

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16 thoughts on “Horrendous – Anareta (2015)”

  1. Daniel Maarat says:

    The problem with Ecdysis is Heartwork fixed what the most glaring problem of Necroticism: the complete lack of focus in meandering songs. Yes Carcass took their tribute to Kreator and Thin Lizzy too far in the other direction with the almost pop song structures but Ecdysis makes Necroticism look like a Motorhead album. Then you get into that the only consistently positive aspects about Ecdysis were the riffs they took from Heartwork. This new record is actually worse and will be blown from the gun too.

  2. discodjango says:

    “Necroticism” is a much hated album, and it has been criticized for many reasons, but one thing it is not: unfocused. Every riff is in the exact spot where it belongs. Almost all of its songs have a verse-chorus-structure, yet Carcass, clever as they were, managed to ‘disguise’ this to some degree, and the most ‘complex’ songs even have a story-like character.

    1. discodjango says:

      Oops, this should have been a reply to Daniel Maarat’s comment…

    2. Daniel Maarat says:

      It has VCV structure but it meanders constantly. How much open note powerchord chugging over industrial beats do we need so Jeff Walker can say the lyrics and Jeff Walker and Michael Amott can trade Slash solos? Most of the songs on Necroticism do not move forward.

    3. Ara says:

      Much hated? Why exactly?
      I get that it wasn’t the strident mess of Reek or the savage display of Symphonies, but is it too silly for you guys? They were always tongue in cheek, but Necroticism to me approaches death musically and lyrically in a way a coroner would after being surrounded by morbidity for so long and laughing at the subject. It reflects how they grew up- eventually death to adults is humorous- and their presentation of it has saccharine touches of melody that resemble pouring febreeze on a corpse- hilarious and only there to divert your attention from the serious matter at hand.

      1. OliveFox says:

        Weren’t they still in their 20s when they recorded Necrotism? Yes, Gallows Humor has been around forever, but I think Carcass just adopted a thin form of it in order to be clever.

        1. Ara says:

          If you do something to be clever, and it actually is clever, is it effective?

      2. discodjango says:

        “Necroticism” is regarded as a ‘betrayal’ of the underground. As you can see in Daniel Maarat’s comment below, it is criticized for its frequent use of the palm muted strum, its ‘rock star’ solos and its mechanistic drumming. You should also check out the review in the DLA. “Necroticism” may not be as good as “Symphonies Of Sickness”, but I still enjoy it after all these years.

        However, Jeff Walker did say some stupid things about death metal back then:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISTIOLUWfrs

        This is “unangenehm”.

        1. Meek Metalhead says:

          Funny how bands claimed to play X metal, instead of Y metal, or better yet “just” rock music (yeah, were just like The Beatles). The G man springs to mind, also Brett and thr-… speed metal (sticking it to the convention, man).

          Thats not even the most awkward video from that period, I should know.

  3. OliveFox says:

    I am very much routing for HORRENDOUS…but yeah, this album is easy to listen to, hard to like, and forgettable. I think I put it on three times, and each times I found myself tuning it out to do other stuff and it just completely fell, ignored, into the background. Bad sign. I recall liking The Chills for its youthful exuberance, but I haven’t listened to it in a few years. Ecdysis is boring as fuck.

    I will give them ONE more album to prove they belong in rotation, but I think they might be one of those good intentioned failures of a band in the end.

  4. SERIOUS QUESTIONER says:

    Hello Gabe or anyone that could answer my question, if you don’t mind.

    What exactly is a “riff” ? And what does it mean when people say that metal music is riff based? Is the riff absent in pop or rock and roll composition ?

    Thanks.

    1. thomasw says:

      a short repeated phrase, frequently played over changing chords or harmonies or used as a backdrop to a solo improvisation.

    2. Poser Patrol says:

      This would make for a good metal theory article, as would one on lead guitar.

    3. fenrir says:

      No, the riff is not exclusive to metal.
      Here you go, straight from a google search, and correct.

      “In music, a riff is an ostinato; a repeated chord progression, pattern, or melody, often played by rhythmic instruments. The riff is the base of the musical composition. They are most common in rock music, funk, and jazz.”

  5. Nuclear Whore says:

    I liked both records, their 2nd is varied, it’s an effort to make somewhat new, and IMHO, dignified.
    Please notice I only talk about feels.
    I hope to disagree with your review of this third record! Cheers…

    1. Daniel Maarat says:

      What? Pre bar ballad Journey with some heavy metal riffs and HM-2 pedals isn’t very good metal. The only thing you can praise about Horrendous is they don’t slam the levels.

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