Thursday, April 11, 2013


Horna - Varjoissa
Self-Released, 1995
Genre: Black Metal

1. Hel
2. Praconium
3. Surun Ikuistama Henki
4. Varjoissa
1994 Rehearsal:
5. Yksin Ikuinen
6. Poltettu

While I enjoy a lot of Horna's material, I really think this is one of the bands where I never actually own all of their material.  Despite their massive discography, I did manage to get a hold of their original demo.  This was limited to 150 copies and has a small copied cover with a lyrics sheet insert, which is separate from the packaging.  I'm actually not completely sure if I have the real demo since the tape I have has two extra songs on it.  These two songs I've managed to identify as rehearsal tracks from 1994.

You can be certain this is an extremely raw demo recording.  Being a Black Metal band at this early stage means their music is very primitive.  I think at this time in history Finland was mostly looking at what Norway and Sweden were producing and drawing a lot of influence from there, except for Beherit, of course.  Horna definitely seem to be drawing influence from the Norwegian scene like early Emperor recordings or even some early Swedish groups like Marduk or Dark Funeral when those bands were still relatively unknown.  It really isn't until a little later that Finland really had their own signature sound to me.  This is one of the things I love about Black Metal and why I enjoy listening to some really early material, you can really tell what region influenced bands!

It is interesting to listen to the rehearsal tracks because they do have a very different feel.  The two tracks from 1994 have a much worse recording quality, as expected, but the pace of the songs is a bit slower.  "Poltettu" is a lot faster than "Yksin Ikuinen", but it has this clean section that is really different compared to the rest of the demo tracks.  The rehearsal tracks certainly have some really great ideas, but I can see why though wouldn't have fit on the more vicious sounding demo.  Although, the song "Varjoissa" is quite good and that is a little slower than the other songs.

Another interesting thing is that the names of the musicians listed on the demo have changed over time.  Skald is now known as Shatraug and Hyarn became Mordehel.  I'm sure why their names changed, but when I first opened up the booklet it made me wonder if there were no original Horna members left.  After some research I was happy to see that Shatraug was involved, since I was under the impression he formed the band in the first place!

Anyway, this is a wonderful piece of history.  Horna have yet to become a major force in Black Metal, but it is great to hear what was coming out of a fledgling Finnish scene at this time.  You can certainly hear the ideas brewing amidst the harsh recording and tortured vocals.

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