Tartarus Horde caught my attention from nothing other than the album art reminding me of one of my more recent discoveries, Rank And Vile. As you could have guessed, they make a gritty and disgusting brand of death metal, based in my home state of Pennsylvania. Their debut album Tartarus Horde is a fairly short disc that’s still a huge handful, as there’s a lot going on, and the ideas are all over the place.
Technicality tends to have that effect on music, and because of the inconsistency, the construction is rather sloppy. Admittedly, that does add a darker effect to the riffing, which can be heard pretty quickly on “Incantations Of Dissident Tongues.” Weirdly, it’s served with drumming that has that “tin-can” like effect, which is a bit awkward when mixed with the tech-happy soloing. Unfortunately, the vocals are also very unflattering and cast a gross feeling in the ears (which may be intentional). I also find that they make the songs run together and lack any kind of identity.
About midway through, things do start to take a slammier approach, mostly because of the grind-like attacks with the rhythm patterns. “Possession Of The Mythic Armaments” is a good example of this, and it even comes in at a short length of 1:53. Other things that help break up this disc are the sound effects and keys added to the background as well as the punching basslines. I also think the tones and production are the best things about Tartus Horde, being the most consistent factor.
But with so much of this going on, that wasn’t enough to keep everything intact. The whole album is overwhelming, which I was able to predict by the third track. If this isn’t enough, only about five of the eight tracks fit everything I’ve said so far. Indeed, one-third of Tartarus Horde is spoken words or interludes, which threw my already confused mind for an even bigger spin. The closing track “Ascension Of Chaotic Intellect” is nine-minutes long, and it’s a spoken passage from start to finish. Sure, it’s spooky and haunting sounding, but completely unnecessary.
There is definitely a crowd out there that would dig an effort such as this, and maybe it’s a matter of my mind not being savvy with this approach. But I am not part of that crowd, and can’t get behind any of the ideas or executions. But if you like techy-grossness and chaos mixed with haunting spoken-stories, this may be worth hearing. Hopefully, if I run into the band at a local show, they don’t try and jump me (haha).
Tartarus Horde came out on September 14th, 2019, and can be found in its entirety right here.