|#FOR FANS OF: Pagan Black|
The title track comes with the fury of a storm as a howling gale of guitar calls out from drumming thunder to shred windsocks and sails alike, dooming hapless merchants with immense waves while casting their goods into the sea. Despite the misfortune of distant others, the king's flotilla has made landfall intact. On the shore comes the stomp and snare of a winding trail of warriors as Horn violently takes numerous villages, slaughters their inhabitants, and brings a new province into the fold. Glory is there in violin and lute to sing songs of the victorious dead while the reality is a smashing appraisal of the newly acquired realm despite the melancholy of interring the individuals unable to appreciate the riches of the fresh conquest for which they have fallen.
While a tempest conjures a beastly invasion on the coast, “Bocksfuss” sees the invaders and ousted defenders meet in barbaric battle deeper into the wilderness. Walls of spears and shields slam into each other with bone breaking thrusts that stab into each opposing line and are quickly repelled with swift sword swings and axe hacks. In harrowing climax the guitars issue blending notes, thick as blood pouring from mortal wounds as they redouble their efforts to shriek out of this press of battle and be heard above the wails of the defeated. As each side fights to exhaustion, the invaders dig in their back feet in preparation for a second wind of assault. The quick strike of a folksy lilt fires synapses as aching muscles are invigorated by the machinery of masterful men whose discipline drives this determined victory. “Garant” garrotes unit after unit as the conquering army's redoubt routs its foe, now turned into a paltry scramble of fleeing men as the field lies littered with the fallen and writhing with wounded warriors. While one side licks its wounds, punished for its audacity in attempting to defend its land from such an onslaught, “Die Einder” sees that a journey is not finished with a single victory. As Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, declared, “nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won”, and the melancholy of a victory at such expense as this would leave any force demoralized before it plunges onward into continuing its campaign.
Still, the deeper appreciation of such militaristic struggle within Horn could also be surmised by Maynard James Keenan who argued, in the song “Vicarious”, that “we won't give pause until the blood is flowing”. Horn is a band that appreciates the bloodshed necessary to achieve its aims and attempts to honor the victorious dead without forgetting the sorrow of loss that such victory inevitably entails. Unlike in 'Turm am Hang', each moment of celebration is met with sullen realization as this fresh force fights in foreign forests. This balance is met more melancholically in 'Retrograd' as venturing from a homeland hof into hostile territory prophesizes not only numerous dangers ahead but also forces conquerors into costly confrontations resulting in Pyrrhic pushes. (Five_Nails)