Portugal’ Hordes of Yore delivers their first self financed album entitled Of Splendour and Ruin.
The themes of war and the Roman Empire are their main sources of inspiration, both in their lyrics as in the structure of the songs. The tracks are varied, going from very raw black metal to clean folk metal, using a mouth harp, in the same style so typical of Moonsorrow. This is particularly noticeable at the end of Setting Stones on Fratricide, on Our Blood For Naught or on the beginning of Dementia Wears a Laurel Crown. Although riff articulation doesn’t always seem very natural, this album is nevertheless based on some very good ideas. However, the record is almost too clean and polished, in the hope that the listener doesn’t get bored… This means that in the end, too many rhythmical breaks somewhat dampen Of Splendour and Ruin. Technically, the record is decent, and the atmospheres are interesting.
I’d also like to underline all the attention devoted to trying to stand out from everything that has already been done in the genre. Musically of course, and also in the concept of the album, dealing with the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. I don’t know any other folk/black metal bands dealing with that subject. And just in case you didn’t know enough about the Roman Empire, you can fill in your gaps by visiting the band’s website (www.thehordes.com), where the secrets in the concept of each song is revealed !
About the band’s style, interestingly, it deals with suggestion more than aggression. There are no real brutal parts on the record. Altogether, it’s the intro to the first song on the album, Setting Stones on Fratricide, that is the most brutal passage on Of Splendour and Ruin. This could almost give you the wrong idea about the record as it is the first track on the album. Hordes of Yore, unlike Nile, isn’t after pretexes for blind butchery in its antique fascination. Indeed, Hordes of Yore is quite opposite from Nile in that it’s compositions are more aerial, with a capella passages, that tend to remind me a little of Cradle of Filth. The Hordes of Yore technical touch is the impact that they put on the eighth note at the end of each bar. It breaks the rhythm somewhat, but in the end it makes the whole piece a lot lighter. Therefore the record breathes a little better with the song Flight of Turul, announcing the last track A Destiny Wrought In Infamy, finishing with delicious guitar intricacies, reminding me a lot of Immolation.
On the whole, let’s just say that as a young band, Hordes of Yore still has some flaws inherent to its lack of experience, be it some sort of naivety, yet the band still could be a promising newcomer on the European metal scene with this talented self produced album, produced by Alex Krull of Atrocity.