Zornheym – Where Hatred Dwells & Darkness Reigns

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/Label: Non Serviam Records
Distributor/Label URL: http://www.non-serviam-records.com
Released: 2017
Buy Album: http://bit.ly/2iNjHhb
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/zornheym

Band line-up:

Bendler – Vocals.
Zorn – Guitar,
Scucca – Guitar,
Angst – Drums.

Tracklistings:

1. The Opposed
2. Subjugation Of The Cellist
3. A Silent God
4. Prologue To A Hypnosis
5. Trifecta of Horrors
6. …And The Darkness Came Swiftly
7. Whom The Night Brings…
8. Decessit Vita Patris
9. Hestia

REVIEW

For years, there was no greater opulence than the symphony. The chance to spend an evening in the presence of one or, better yet, be a part of one was something of an achievement. Now, it can be drafted into a number of genres to enhance and amplify a sound and none more so than in metal. Specifically, death metal on this release; ZORNHEYM’s debut “Where Hatred Dwells & Darkness Reigns”.

Eschewing the usual tropes of Satan and all his little helpers, these Swedish death fiends centre their theme around psychiatric hospitals and the patients admitted to their “care”. Where the usual dark topics oft pedalled by death metal bands can be quite a terrifying prospect, there’s something remarkably real and horrible about the prospect of treatment in a twisted hospital. That’s what makes “Where Hatred Dwells…” quite such a compelling listen.

It’s a brash and pompous affair, with the orchestrations mixed ably alongside chunky death metal crunch. Yet the grandiose music belies horrors within – opener “The Opposed” ostensibly deals with the musings of a man suffering an auditory form of schizophrenia, with a refrain of “my screams are silent” sounding particularly petrifying. The condemned souls don’t stop there, with “A Silent God” telling the story of a violent sociopath’s obsession with blood and his desire to kill – powerful stuff.

Whilst the music itself is everything you’d expect from symphonic death metal (including some nods to the twin guitar lines of melodic death metal in “Whom The Night Brings…”), it’s focus on the characterisation means that there is little room for inane instrumental forays. With that being the case, “Where Hatred Dwells…” subsequently thrives from that concentration. The genre can often go off into weird and wonderful places with little regard for the song, yet here it is strictly confined to telling the stories of these patients and their illnesses. Considering that there are actual illnesses attached to these characters, as opposed to the stock “insane” line most bands would go for, it makes for a very real and very enthralling journey. The black metal-influenced “Trifecta Of Horrors” sounds every bit a patient being consumed by their illness, and the shrieking violin only makes for an even more uncomfortable listen.

This had been a highly-anticipated release from ZORNHEYM, especially given their members comprise of folk from DARK FUNERAL, FACEBREAKER and DIABOLICAL. Such hype can often have a severely detrimental effect on a band, particularly on one with such extravagant a sound in symphonic death metal. Yet, mercifully, “Where Hatred Dwells & Darkness Reigns” meets the hyped head-on and sounds wickedly resplendent. With real stories and obvious symptoms forming the core horrors of each song, it is a particularly troubling listen but one that is every bit as rewarding as one could hope.

Review by Lee Carter
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