Thonian Horde – Downfall

What exactly defines music as “accessible”? Here on this blog, we thrive on the most niche of sounds. Dissonant black metal? Oh yeah, we got that for all 12 of you who love it. Epic funeral doom? Of course we have that, and we have it in 20, 30, 40, or even 83 minute long track varieties. And we’ve got all the grind noise you can possibly stand, too. In our musical journeys, though, we end up finding things we like to think anybody could listen to. Every once in a while, it fits into one of our beloved mini-genres. Thonian Horde’s brand of black n’ roll is a band any one could potentially get into. Luckily they have a new record on the way in Downfall.

Maryland’s Thonian Horde have been putting out their version of the more accessible black n’ roll since 2014. They lean more into the blackened sound, but their music still has instances of more mainstream rock kind of sounds. You wouldn’t hear the Horde on top 40 radio, of course, but this is the kind of band you could easily share with your non-metalhead friends. It has that taste of underground metal you love while being darkly riffy enough for everyone to enjoy!

Black n’ roll is such a unique little mini-genre that can combine this dissonant with the harmonious. It’s really darkly fun in a very unique way. Thonian Horde is simply the perfect example of that sound. Each track is engaging in a way that resembles the grooviness of witch rock and doom bands. The riffs really make this record so much more than it seems at first. Very rarely can you call a black metal record “fun,” but I think we can make a very worthy exception for Downfall.

The blackened straightforward tones begin immediately with “The Narcissist”. The calling card blackened tremolo picking riff introduces a fairly traditional thrashy riff combined with the overwhelmingly grim atmosphere of a black metal record. It’s an absolute treat to hear this song going through its motions. The almost screechy vocals from bassist and vocalist FeZZy are wonderfully classic sounding and of the beloved second wave black variety. There’s an equally classic blackened blast beat to accompany a short breakdown. Still everything sounds like a pretty standard riff and variation on more traditional sounding metal, albeit sped up and with a far more odious feeling. Thonian Horde clearly knows how to pick the best of their influences to invoke on Downfall to make a wonderfully unique sound.

Black n’ roll records don’t come around very often. Of all the subgenres, it might be the most sparsely populated with artists and musicians. If you like this kind of sound, you have to jump on these kinds of records. Downfall is an excellent example of what this kind of sound can do. It can be both the darkened black sound you crave while also sounding like something you could give your friend who’s just dipping their toes into more underground sounds. So keep the roll going.

Downfall drops Mat 24th via Grimoire Records, and is available for pre-order on the band’s Bandcamp page.

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