Hortus Animae - Funeral Nation MMXXII

'Funeral Nation' is a gargantuan collection of all the works that Prog. Black Metal outfit Hortus Animae have done over their full length album discography. Split between two discs, the first disc is remastered work of their latest work 'The Blow Of Furious Winds.' Here, new listeners and old will see their branch more towards the classical and symphonic edges of Progressive Black Metal with tracks like "The Mud And The Blood..." It's not their most epic track, but more of an epic sound that will appeal to fans of the likes such as Cradle Of Filth with its dark overtones and options for pianos and violins for a classical atmosphere. By far the highlight is the haunting "WIndfall..." near the end which includes guest vocals from Liv Kristine of Leaves' Eyes, who seems to be welcome guest amongst many Black Metal artists. There is even a string a covers from Mayhem and Mike Oldifield that is composed in a beautifully and classically arranged symphony, although on this last track the vocal production is drastically reduced, making it evident it was from an earlier album. Still, the keyboards/ piano bits are always a welcome sound to any Symphonic Black Metal fan in conjunction with the raw, ripping tremolo picking riffs that keep up the raw tones of the music.

The second disc offers music from the first two albums. Both much more underproduced, their sound is a bit harsher and in turn present more of a distorted echo. When it comes to the Black Metal sections this can get a bit overwhelming, but for slower parts such as the interlude on "Souls Of The Cold Wind" it is wonderful. Hortus also feature one of their best epics in "The Melting Idol" where the band completely embraces their gothic side and tosses in slow, spoken word sections, Spanish influenced guitar, and overall a style that really makes them stand apart from the average Black Metal band. The classical touches of the earlier tracks were beautiful, but this is a wonder to behold as Hortus keeps things innovative and refrains from falling too far into a pitfall of repetitiveness. Overall, this collection is a great and easy to way to collect all of the band's works so far like an early and literal 'best of,' but for those who are already fans of the group, there is almost no difference or intrigue for them to go soul searching through these works again. New fans will certainly want to jump on this compilation as quickly as possible, though the amount of sound might be quite vast at first to really enjoy; it takes a few listens.

Disc I

  1. Furious Winds/ Locust
  2. The Mud And The Blood/ Funeral Nation
  3. The Heartfelt Murder
  4. The Virgin Whore
  5. In Adoration Of The Weeping Skies
  6. Across The Sea Of Pain
  7. Bible Black
  8. A Gothic Ghost/ The Death Of All Beauty
  9. Garden Of Fairies
  10. The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke/ Nevermore
  11. Windfall Introducing The Summoning Of The Muse (feat. Liv Kristine)
  12. Freezing Moon/ Terzo Incontro/ Tubular Bells
Disc II
  1. Luciferian Twilight
  2. The Bless Of Eternal Bleeding
  3. Cruciatus Tacitus
  4. Spell And Devotion (Impropmtu Op. I)
  5. The Melting Idols
  6. Even Death Is Useless
  7. -
  8. Enter
  9. A Lifetime Obscurity Pt. 1
  10. A Lifetime Obscurity Pt. 2
  11. Springtime Deaths
  12. Souls Of The Cold Wind
  13. Welcome The Godless
  14. A Feeble Light Of Hope

Reviewer: Colin McNamara
Sep 24, 2012

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