The birth of the Italian band Huronian in 2020 was one of the silver linings to the lethal black clouds with which the covid pandemic was then shrouding the world.
Word of their existence spread through a self-titled EP released that year, and then spread further through a very impressive 2021 debut album, As Cold as a Stranger Sunset.
Now Huronian are returning with a new five-track EP. Entitled Beyond Frozen Heights, it’s set for release on September 15th by Gruesome Records, and today we’re bringing you an advance listen to the whole record.
Photo by Xaendar Movie by Andrea Bennici
The attention-grabbing cover art for the EP, created by Huronian vocalist Daniele Lupidi, provides clues to some of the music within. Huronian explain:
Some of the new songs, like “Over Frozen Heights Pt. 1” and “Over Frozen Heights Pt. 2” are freely inspired by H.P. Lovecraft‘s At the Mountains of Madness with the music aimed at capturing the overall atmosphere of the acclaimed piece of literature. The cover of the EP depicts the landscapes where the story is narrated.
Themes of esoteric mystery also surface in “Blazing Bolt of Hatred”. As the band have commented, its lyrics “deal with Milton‘s opus Paradise Lost, bringing the listener into an obscure and mysterious trip filled with fear, beauty, and vengeance.”
In the music of the EP, Huronian again pay tribute to the golden age of melodic death metal, but filtering those influences through the obsidian lens of black metal to create a seamless amalgam of sensations.
They set the stage with an intro track named “The Guild“. It’s an inviting and enthralling piece of music, a gleaming, glittering, and Baroque-sounding guitar instrumental backed with orchestration that itself generates an air of mesmerizing mystery.
Huronian follow the elegance of “The Guild” with the much more vicious escapade of “Torturer’s Creed“. Here the guitars rapidly blaze and cavort in derangement, fronted by raw, rabid howls, backed by thunderous and neck-snapping drumwork, and undergirded by humongous bass lines that are often just as off-the-chain as everything else.
Yet even within the roiling and ravaging storm front of this song, the band infiltrate exotic and esoteric melodies, and manage to put on displays of technical virtuosity which are exhilarating but don’t distract from the song’s overarching savagery.
Then comes that two-part “Over Frozen Heights“. Part 1 continues the adrenaline-fueled speed and ecstatic destructiveness of “Torturer’s Creed“, with the band going full-throttle and providing a thoroughly pavement-fracturing and head-spinning experience, while also bringing in sorcerous melodic soloing that again generates an atmosphere of the obscure and the esoteric.
Part 2 is really just as head-spinning as everything that precedes it, and the vocals just as raw and ravaging (and also haughty and harrowing), but while the song is eye-popping in both its intricacy and the technical impressiveness of the band’s execution, the music also creates moods that seem both imperious and desperate.
And then the band close with “Blazing Bolt of Hatred“. As you could probably guess from the song’s title, Huronian didn’t decide to close the album with something that would let listeners breathe easier. To the contrary, “Blazing Bolt” is another ferocious yet remarkably elaborate spectacle, packed with frantically swirling and swarming fretwork, eye-popping drum variations, warlock soloing, and throat-ruining vocal intensity.
The whole EP flies by in just a bit more than 14 minutes, yet it seems longer because so damned much happens in every track. It’s probably also a good thing it ends where it does, because most listeners will likely be gasping for air by that point.
Beyond Frozen Heights really is a relentlessly exhilarating and thoroughly breathtaking EP, a great combination of ferocious energy, technical virtuosity, and evocative melody.
These folks should take a bow:
Daniele Lupidi – Vocals
Umberto Poncina – Rhythm Guitar
Tommaso Pellegrini – Lead Guitar
Gianluca Trotta – Bass
Marcello Malagoli – Drums
Beyond Frozen Heights was recorded by Umberto Poncina and Claudio Corvo Mulas. Drums and vocals were recorded at Art Distillery Studios. It was also mixed and mastered by Umberto Poncina.
Gruesome Records will release the EP on CD and digital formats, in addition to streaming services. It’s available for pre-order now in advance of the September 15th release.
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