Review: Horn (Germany) “Retrograd”

Review: Horn (Germany) “Retrograd”

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Horn (Germany) Retrograd
Iron Bonehead productions

I’m not familiar with any other release by Horn other than their last studio album (Turm am Hang) which to me was a good and consistent release of rather melodic blackened folk metal.

Like many metal artists that play folk-inspired music Nerrath, the sole member of Horn, chose to open with an instrumental acoustic track. Since these kind of tracks rarely are of any length, seldom longer than 2-3 minutes, you either forget them completely or you get immersed to the right atmosphere right before the real opening track starts playing.

This intro is a definitely the second type of intro. It’s simple, just long enough and grabs your attention. The meat of this EP however are 4 songs (there is one more instrumental) of guitar driven pagan metal with a few elements of acoustic guitar, cello and apparently an Appalachian mountain dulcimer to be precise! This constellation of instruments is very much capable of creating a new dimension beyond guitar, bass and drums without making the sound image cluttered.

Something I knew from before was that Horn did choruses really well. They are a perfect mix of epic and catchy and they also have that nice punch to them that make you want more of them. The songs verses are driven by melodic guitar riffs which are executed beautifully. Variation is added with interludes from either one of the additional instruments. The chords played by the acoustic and clean guitars gave me some real nostalgia to old RTS-games I used to play when I was younger.

As interpreted by me Nerrath wants to create a medieval atmosphere with the artwork, lyrical themes and instrumentation. And as far as I am concerned he has hit the nail on the head. The fact that he use multiple languages, German, Swedish, Icelandic and Dutch, throughout this EP creates what I would call a “broadly Germanic” feeling, connecting the myths and legends shared within said cultures.

Listening to this EP has been a positive experience and the overall quality has been a slight but noticeable improvement from his previous work (I can’t say much about his older back catalogue).

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