By Daniel Tucceri
Demonic shrieks emerge from the speakers like an unholy sepulchre that should never have been disturbed. Buzzsaw guitars pierce as unremitting screams tortured by hellfire would. Lightning fast drums pound as ruthlessly as a carpet bombing, leaving the listener shell-shocked beneath the levelling dust. Such are the evocations on the debut Hordes of the Black Cross LP, Dawn of War, Nights of Chaos.
Forming in late 2010 as a three piece, guitarist Hate Blaze joined bassist Korpse Horde, drummer Thorn and vocalist Halla to complete the initial line-up. Members of the band arrived from South-East Asia and Queensland and for some of them, heading south was a matter of necessity. Back home, “audiences and venues are few and far between,” but the fans are no less dedicated, recalls Halla. “Venues kept changing due to not having a dedicated ‘institution’ of venues unlike what we have here like Arthouse (RIP), the Tote and the Bendigo,” he recalls.
A live force to be reckoned with, their shows are ritualistic by nature. Halla invokes malevolent spirits buried by time and dust with every shriek and inhuman movement. “I have a healthy respect for the ritual aspect of black metal music,” he observes. “Personally for me, it’s a private practice, readings and understanding helps me to find my way in our music.” Their approach has seen them win the respect of extreme metal luminaries such as Stephen O’Malley (SUNN O)))), Attila Csihar (Mayhem) and Matt Skitz (Damaged) along with supporting international acts such as Inquisition.
Despite this, Hordes of the Black Cross are just as at home playing squats amongst the “true filth and chaos,” as Halla describes them. It’s an attitude which harkens back to the darkest years of black metal and is influenced by bands such as Sadistik Exekution, Morbid, Bestial Warlust and Atomizer. “I have absolute respect for the old gods as they swung the first battle axe, sword and hammer!” declares Halla.
“Recording technologies back then helped to develop that ‘sound,’” he notes. In his opinion, the aesthetic and attitude go hand in hand. “And the tape trading days and the letter writing. We cannot forget the hard work that was done before. All we can do now is to push the boundaries further.
“I think for us to still do up our war paint on our faces is to acknowledge the old gods. And as an audience, who wouldn’t love to see a black metal band in leather, spikes and war paint on? Or play faster, louder and more brutal?”
Dawn of War, Nights of Chaos is out now.