If their band name doesn’t have you scratching your head then their decidedly off-kilter brand of blackened music will. But bewilderment doesn’t necessarily equal disappointment, especially not if a talented and ambitious unit is behind the proverbial steering wheel. So yeah – after the first listen, you’ll be thinking ‘what the hell am I listening to?!’ then progressing to ‘why the hell am I liking this?!’ before ultimately arriving at ‘goddamn, these guys are the shit!’
Ask me, I know.
Their moniker, TERZIJ DE HORDE, which is Dutch for “Set apart from the horde," as peculiar as it is, is actually quite fitting since they don’t really sound like any other band currently doing the rounds. If pressed I’d probably say that their brand of Sludgy-yet-Melodic Post-Black Metal is somewhat similar to that of up-and-coming US bands LUDICRA and CASTEVET with a bit of GALLHAMMER’s crusty Doom sprinkled on top. It’s a strange sonic brew that is undoubtedly modern (hence the ‘Post-this’ and ‘Post-that’), but one that firmly eschews the overt psychedelia of NACHTMYSTIUM and the soothing introspectiveness of, say, ALCEST.
What’s special about this act is how they can incorporate loads of disparate elements (ranging from near blastbeats to throaty hardcore-ish screams to menacing Doom riffs) into their sound, and then proceed to rape, twist, and turn them all inside out to achieve a sound that is easily deconstructed but, when taken as a whole, coming across as something wholly unique and fresh.
For the most part they settle for a slow-ish Doom crawl opting only to go for the jugular at calculated intervals, and then with much thunder and fury. The first three songs are perfect examples of this tactic. The feedback-laden sludge and screamo-ish vocals of “Prometheans” creates a suitably harsh and hostile sound, then shifting into a more moderate post-rock beat for several minutes before the band closes off the song in a hectic avalanche of truly eerie guitar wails and distortion. “Vertigo – A Mithraic Ritual” starts off even slower, very much in the KHANATE vein, before it also shifts rapidly into a groovy new-wave beat towards the end, which in turn gives way to even more damp ‘n drugged-out Doom/Sludge. Hell, they even throw in an extended banjo section at the end of “The Roots Of Doomsday Anxiety."
A banjo in extreme Metal?!
Makes sense, ‘cos if you’ve ever seen "Deliverance" or "I Spit On Your Grave" then you’ll know that the banjo is the ultimate trumpet of doom and evil ... Speaking of evil, the last song, “Non Timetis Messor” (Don’t Fear The Reaper”) is easily the most straightforward and unabashed Black Metal tune on here – faster, colder, and more melodic than the rest and just about the only nod to Scandinavia on the entire disc.
“A Rage Of Rapture Against The Dying Of Light” is not an easy listen but it is ultimately a very rewarding one. The band clearly know what they’re doing, the arrangements are tight (but not so much so that it becomes sterile), the production is loud and clear, and fuck – that banjo! I also appreciate the highly metaphorical bent of the lyrics, with many lines betraying a deep obsession with existential nihilism.
I really can’t praise this band enough. They have a kick-ass little EP on their hands, the music is challenging and multi-layered, the lay-out is professional – you name it. Dear label folk, please get off your asses and sign this band NOW!
(Online October 31, 2010)