It’s perhaps a wee bit unreasonable to expect every band out there to be groundbreaking world beaters but there’s no harm in trying, you know. When a bunch of guys gather in a recording studio to have a ‘good time’ the listener is almost guaranteed NOT to have a good time, which is exactly the situation I found myself in as I slogged through HORROR GOD’s “Cold Shine”, a piece of work that is the dictionary definition of banal.
This has to be the 23464th Russian band I’ve had to review in the past few weeks and easily the most painful one to sit through. Devoid of even the faintest whiff of originality, “Cold Shine” plays out just like you’d expect a third-rate Death Metal album to – lots of chunky (though thoroughly bland) riffs, monotone growls and square drum beats thrown together in a wishy-washy way, with a slight Black Metal undercurrent coursing through in the background. Remember how badly GEHENNA dropped the ball when they jettisoned their early Black Metal sound for a more straight-up Death Metal aesthetic on “Murder”? Well, the lads in HORROR GOD seem to have been raised on said album because these songs all follow the same boring route. You have to dig long and deep to discover anything truly noteworthy here, with perhaps only the gentle keyboard opening and cascading main riff of “Sveboda” and the CANNIBAL COPSE-ish onslaught of “Chelovek” qualifying as moderately enjoyable. The rest merely follow the tried-and-tested Blackened Death route paved by the aforementioned GEHENNA, as well as others like NAUMACHIA and current AETERNUS.
They do show potential (especially in terms of the subtle integration of more Black Metal-sounding melodies into the predominantly Death Metal mix) but it remains largely unrealized on “Cold Shine”. Many tracks lose steam as soon as they breach the 2 minute mark, and the excessive padding utilized by the band is proof enough that (a) they didn’t have enough really good riffs per song, and (b) they don’t know how to conclude a song, as most of them fade out amidst waves of shameless riff recycling. I’m sorry guys, but it’s back to the drawing board for you.
(Online August 20, 2009)