Terzij de Horde- Self

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Dutch black metal band Terzij de Horde has been around since 2007, forming as Liar Liar Cross on Fire before switching to their current name in 2010. Since that time they have been steadily honing their craft, sticking with shorter form releases like EP’s and splits until this year’s full length Self. It’s an ambitious effort that spans fifty one minutes in length and finds the group going for the type of introspective and expansive black metal that’s able to provide both bleak melodies and dense, destructive riffing. Though there are some moments towards the end that blur together a bit too much and make it a little hard to make out the individual songs that comprise them, there’s no denying that Terzij de Horde has put together hypnotic black metal that’s precise in its ability to control your emotions with sweeping atmospherics.

Tagging anything as atmospheric or expansive in the context of black metal tends to bring a certain type of sound to mind, but don’t expect these guys to slowly build up from much softer instrumentation on Self. Opener “Absence” launches right into a barrage of harsh riffing and blasting drums, which initially led me to believe that Terzij de Horde was going to spend much of the album on that path. But after only a few minutes the denser riffing fades out and in its place are melodic leads that spread outwards and create a somber, introspective mood. This same interplay between harsh, jagged edges that attack the listener and sweeping melodies that put them into a hypnotic trance continues for the majority of the record and as you make your way through Self the instrumentation seems to spread out even further. But even as the guitars and bass head towards melodic elements, Terzij de Horde still maintains a considerable amount of bite when compared to other black metal groups that have gone for a more atmospheric approach and it’s this consistent rough edge that chips away at the otherwise hypnotic and warmer textures that gives the material a feeling all its own. Admittedly about three quarters of the way through there are some riffs that sounded just a bit too similar to each other, and even after listening to this album for an entire day I do find it tough to pick out where some of the songs end and another begins after the halfway point. But this is a minor quibble overall, as when taken as a cohesive effort the ebbs and flows Self is able to provide remain absorbing and haunting from beginning to end.

Vocalist Joost Vervoort has a harsher scream that tears through the instrumentation and stands far above its dense layers. Though the performance is oriented towards raspier screaming that has a distinctive black metal influence, there are moments where the vocals head into the type of emotional screams that wouldn’t sound out of place on a post hardcore record. It’s not the most dominant style and only appears at key points on Self, but it fits well with the group’s emphasis on entrancing melodies and gives these sections a very different feel than is sometimes typical for the genre. The raspy nature of the screams contribute a significant amount to Terzij de Horde’s ability to maintain that abrasive sound during their sparsest moments, as even as the layers start to fade Vervoort is still front and center with an aggressive delivery that never relents for a second.

A full length has been a long time in the making from this band, but the results make it clear that Terzij de Horde has used this longer incubation period to completely flesh out their sound. Self is a record that takes a multifaceted approach to black metal, offering both hypnotic and atmospheric melodies and dissonant blasting in equal amounts while never fully stepping off of its attack. Though a few sections did blur together by the end, the desire for a bit more distinction between some of the song structures may be more of a personal preference and taken as a whole this is an impressive achievement. With a solid base in place that falls somewhere in between the haunting atmospheric and chaotic, violent variants of black metal without feeling like a stereotypical version of either style, Terzij de Horde has my attention and it will be interesting to see where they head next.

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