What doesn't kill you...
-- Growing Horns --
Review written by Stijn "Metal Shredder" Daneels.
[METAL SHREDDER REPORTING]
2 years ago, during the inaugural edition of the Doomsday festival in Zwevegem I first encountered this up and coming act called Growing Horns. Over the past couple of years I kept in touch with the band and frequently saw them perform in various venues in and around my local area. While I’ve always enjoyed Growing Horns perform live, I was getting more and more curious to get some recorded material in my shredding hands. And now that time has finally come…
“The Nobility of Pain” is the debut EP of the Belgian doom/sludge metal band Growing Horns after their formation in 2015. It’s an independent, 5-track release, personally sent to us by the band’s vocalist Dafus Demon. Thank you very much!
While Growing Horns may feel like a regular doom metal band at first but there are plenty of things that make this particular band stand out from many of its other brethren. First off, Growing Horns put a lot of emphasis on bass, adding a thunderous groove to their sound. In addition, there’s also much melody in the guitar-department and plenty of variety in terms of speed and overall feel, with certain parts on the EP having marching, groove metal inspired shredding while other sections feature the typically drawn-out doom riffs and finally there are the several psychedelic sludge parts.
There aren’t a lot of vocals in those tracks and when vocalist Dafus does come up, his style mainly consists of whispering, hissing, growling and other demonic sounds. His voice is often heard in the background with the bass, drums and guitars taking center-stage. To great effect, not because Dafus is a poor vocalist (far from it), but because his crispy voice further adds to the dark and brooding atmosphere of Growing Horns’ sound. Like an infernal priest reading hellish incantations over the furiously pounding beats or the whispers of a dying man in a post-apocalyptic world.
Pain is the central theme on Growing Horns’ debut EP. Physical and mental pain, social oppression and cynicism towards the world are all represented here with the EP’s ending song “2084” paying homage to George Orwell’s iconic dystopian novel 1984. The EP’s cover art features references to the EP’s five songs as well as the band’s multi-horned ram-headed mascot ready to butcher an angel. The whole cover is drawn in black & brown and looks very comic-book like. I certainly enjoy the artistic style of this cover.
[SHARPEST SHREDS & BLUNTEST BLADES]
2084 is my personal favorite tune on the album. Starting off with a weary sense of doom but gradually getting more upbeat and eventually exploding into a beautiful dual guitar solo and finally with some peaceful piano tunes. It’s like the people of Oceania finally fighting and successfully destroying the oppressive Ingsoc regime, earning their freedom. Just like in the iconic Apple Macintouch Super Bowl commercial.
Personally I did feel that the songs “We’re All Made Of Scars,” and “Butcher’s Blues” took a bit too long to get started. Both songs begin with a minute-long ambient section and feel unnecessary. Good thing both tracks get to their juicy meat straight thereafter.
8 hammer throws out of 10. Growing Horns takes the tried-and-true doom and sludge formulas and injects them with a very healthy dose of melody, pacing and atmosphere. Add to that an awesome lot of bass and spices of thrash, death and groove metal and you’ve got one horny package! So enjoy “2084” and let us all work together to make sure 2084 won’t be like 2084.