Crooked Horns were always going to be a metal band, weren’t they? And this Swedish black metal combo bring the metal with all the distortion, with all the snarling apocalyptic portent, with all the demonic savagery. Crooked Horns sprouted in 2012, meaning it’s taken the best part of 8 years for them to birth this, their 9-song debt album. It’s finely honed, and rages hard, and that’s a fact.
I still find it difficult to differentiate good black metal from bad, especially when it spins in elements of death and straight old-fashioned heavy, but tend to base my enjoyment and appreciation on how unintelligible the vocals are, since more often than not, the lyrics tend to be a bit naff, so not being able to decipher them is a good thing. On the lyrical audibility scale, Crooked Horns score around a 6 with ‘The Metamorphosis’.
Sonically, it’s suitably punishing, and the pace is full-throttle for the majority, with slowed, down, one-chord trudging mid-sections breaking the relentless hell-for-leather thrashing from time to time. ‘To Become, As One’ slows things by half and brings the bombast, coming on like Metallica with some extreme stereo panning for good measure. Either that or II’m suffering some strange rapid-alternating deafness. Fast and furious and solid if not especially inventive or possessing any particularly distinctive features, ‘The Metamorphosis’ pummels away in a frenzied blur of whiplash percussion and muddy guitars, and is every bit as gruelling as it’s designed to be.