MUSIC REVIEW: Horrenda – 2016 Releases

Horrenda - Band Photo

Band Name: Horrenda (Ireland)
Release Name: Neronian Times / 16 Deadmen / The Redrum Session
Genre: Black Metal

Horrenda are a Dublin based black metal band formed by Darragh “Outis” O’Connor in 2015 after his departure from metalcore group Theories Divide. Originally a solo effort by Outis, he quickly released a pair of demos not long after forming, Echtra and Bellum Civile both released in September. The music at this point was influenced by darker feelings in Darragh’s own personal life as well as elements of Irish folklore and political/social commentary. Both releases were quite experimental and divided opinions due to its rough recordings and all-round performance.

2016 marked a new turning point in Horrenda when Outis began to recruit new members to start performing live shows with the band. Joining Darragh are “Barbatus” on drums and vocalist Arron “Nomad” O’Shaughnessy for live performances, with Max “Urât” Bevan and Daragh Kenny helping as studio members. Horrenda have released more music this year, most notably a new demo Neronian Times and the recent live bootleg The Redrum Session, and have played a number of live shows including supporting Outright Resistance, Snowblind and this year’s Species 2016 Gothic & Industrial Arts and Culture Gathering.


Horrenda - Neronian Times

The bands most recent demo Neronian Times was released originally in February but has since been re-released with new artwork through Depressive Illusions Records. A little different than previous releases in that half the songs were recorded as a band with the other half being solo tracks from Darragh. Going down the second wave black metal sound rather than the depressive black influence we heard before, the demo is a mixed bag in quality. The biggest hurdle I’ve found with Horrenda’s demos are the awful mixes, they just detract for any notable elements in the music like the acoustic break in the title track to the doomy side of ‘Ríastrad’.  There are gems to be found but unfortunately you need to do quite a bit of digging before you can find them.


Horrenda - 16 Deadmen

‘16 Deadmen’ was a single released for the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising here in Ireland, and more specifically it deals with the deaths of the rebellion leaders in the days following. The first thing that has to be said it that this is best mixed track that Horrenda has released so far, the general disconnect between the drums and guitar their demos usually have isn’t present here. The track is a dark as the subject manner suggests with clips of gunfire interlaced into the cold isolating riffs and thundering drums. The track is now a regular addition to the bands live set and will be re-recorded for their upcoming EP.


Horrenda - The Redrum Session

The Redrum Session is a recording of one of the rehearsals the band had for one of their first live shows. Darragh listened over the recording and felt that with a little clean-up that it was fit to be released. While the quality is about what you’d expect from a bootleg it does give us a good glimpse of the current incarnation of the band. “Barbatus” is a very good addition with his rustling thundering drums giving the tracks new life and vocalist Nomad has a similar raspy croak to what Darragh’s been using on the demoes but also mixes some terrifying shrieks in the mix. Here’s an interesting piece that Darragh wrote regarding Horrenda’s live shows and their setlist.


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