Underground extreme metal favourites Cadaveria return with the appropriately titled Horror Metal. The Italian band’s first outing since In Your Blood (May 2007), finds them exploring more musical strains of heavy metal than on previous releases to the point of almost becoming accessible to the mainstream in a Marilyn Manson sort of way. Now before diehard fans (of which I am one) get their panties in a wad, I don’t intend to say that they sound like Marilyn Manson at all, just simply that the album’s ebb and flow and some of the more virtuoso style soloing reminds me of the way the shock rocker lays out his best musical works. Atmosphere is everything on Horror Metal and it truly expands the band’s dynamic.
There’s a lot to like about this album really, especially from a commercial perspective. While Cadaveria are never going to sell millions, they do exhibit some potential here that we haven’t seen before that could easily elevate them to Cradle Of Filth or Cannibal Corpse level acceptance from the masses if the stars align for them. Case in point is the chaotic yet entirely beautiful ‘The Night’s Theatre’. The song has a strong metal backbone with a rock ’n’ roll edge that takes it straight to the top of the mountain and then jumps off and soars with a melodic lead guitar part and sporadic singing. It’s also got a killer guitar outro that leaves little question how good this band actually is. ‘The Days Of The After And Behind’ has a dissonant feel that showcases a new side of the band. The buzzsaw guitar work trades licks with a progressive lead piece that makes for a pretty damn creepy sound as the lady herself growls over the top of the song in a sparingly anthemic way.
Of course, there’s plenty of the things Cadaveria’s longtime fans love here as well. ‘Death Vision’ and ‘Flowers In Fire’ are pummeling pieces of metal that remind me a lot of the Far Away From Conformity album (January 2004) with a more mature twist to it. ‘Hypnotic Psychosis’ moves a bit faster and has a weird breakdown in the middle that makes it that much creepier while also giving it a deeper grind (and, surprisingly, the disco drumbeat underneath it all works pretty well). Also, ‘The Oracle (Of The Fog)’ has that sonic scariness that made The Shadow’s Madame (March 2002) an instant classic.