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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Horna brought raw, Finnish black metal emotions to 529 on May 29

Shatraug of Horna.

View a gallery of images from the show.

Finnish black metal masters Horna headlined a late-night set at 529 on May 29th, alongside openers, Kommandant from Chicago, and Atlanta acts Hell Goat and Sadistic Ritual. It was a long night that began at 9:45 p.m. and didn't come grinding to halt until well past 2 a.m. - dressing-up for the apocalypse and slathering on all that corpse paint eats up a lot of time between sets.

So what distinguishes Finnish black metal from the Scandinavian, South American, et. al. sounds? I asked a few folks at the show, as I've found that understanding regionalism is key to grasping the full style and scope of a black metal band. One guy at the bar explained that Finnish black metal is slower, and driven by a much denser bottom end than any of the Norwegian bands. "It's not quite as trebbly ... " However, I think Horna's mech guy said it best: "Finnish black metal is real. Of all the strains of black metal you will hear, it has the fullest and most raw emotions, and you will hardly ever hear keyboards in the music."

Horna pretty much fit the description, and from the moment the group's frontman, Shatraug, faced the audience to utter his unholy roar, the crowd wanted blood. In the presence of such a spectacle, 529 looked more like a Hieronymous Bosch painting than your typical show, and for the record, I was told that Shatraug baptized himself in his own urine, but I did not see it happen - which is fine. The pit was a frenzy and Shatraug's native tongue groaned like some sort of ancient demon language that had a maddening effect on anyone who was within earshot.

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