This one was definitely a shock. And so shocking it was, that it still deserves reviews today, after more than a decade from the time it was released. Hellig Usvart literally changed the course of black metal, giving birth, as we would assume from the title of the album, to a brand new metal sub-genre: Unblack metal. Still, one would say that there’s nothing in this world that comes out of the thin blue air, and one would be right in that, for Horde’s musical historical masterpiece stands out as from the very solid foundation of black metal, only to glance down at it and say the only thing that remains to be said: Invert the inverted cross.
The album starts not-so-fresh with a typical synthesized track conveying the sounds of a church bell on the background of “Nordic winds” blowing. We are then blown up by a sharp and violent musical attack, tremendous and powerful blast-beats and riffs alongside with angry and fast vocals. The track goes:
crush the star under foot
tear the robe on which it lies
accursed image it portays
symbol of blasphemy will never rise
now powerless against us
it lay in pieces in the dust
awaiting the fires of hell
Thus, from the beginning we’re faced with Horde’s “anti-Antichrist” message. But it is only along with the third track that we are to see the singer’s true musical skills. With this track we are to realize Horde isn’t just another “blast-beat oriented” black metal band; perfect drumming combined with the ingenious solo guitar finally add the last element that was needed to make of this album go into history: raw art; a pure return to the basic principles of Christianity; i.e. art doesn’t need tens of riffs and beats to change during a 3-minute track, it needs a constitutive and continuous message, explaining that an eternal entity can never be overwhelmed.
This gives the atmosphere of the rest of the tracks, out of which the best-thought are without doubtThine Hour Hast Come (track 4) and Invert the Inverted Cross. All the album stands out as a proclamation of the victorious liberty that is to come with the “storming of the gates of Hell”. If we are to think its structure over, we’d say that tracks 1-4 are a declaration of war to Satan, track 5 is an appeal to a Christian brother that is to join Horde’s crusade, tracks 7-10 represent the war itself, for which the act of “crushing the bloodied horns of the goat” is most symbolic, tracks 11 and 12 are a monologue picturing the site of Satan kneed and, finally, the last track is a homage to God, thanking Him for His blessing in this war.
All in all, the album is extremely well recorded and the efforts of the one-man-band stand out clearly in listening to it. We think it now deserves, after 14 years since its release, a 9 out of 10 as a token of our appreciation.