The Horde Thy Blackened Reign

This is the first full-length album form Iowa demon slayers the Horde, and their first recorded material since their 2008 debut EP, From Empire To Ashes. Now signed to StormSpell Records, Thy Blackened Reign carries on their noble work chronicling Viking lore. The album consists of some decent thrash metal riffs, with a speed metal pace and some NWOBHM flourishes in the melodies for good measure. The focus isn't the sophistication of the sound, but rather the subject matter: the glory of battle. Thy Blackened Reign is all about riding into war and slaughtering your enemies. That said, it's awfully cheerful and good-natured in tone for something so bloodthirsty. The Horde don't fully commit to the rage of battle and grim, stoic reflection of lost comrades that you often see in the best Viking-inspired metal. Instead, the album feels a lot more like playing D&D: all imagination and no consequences, putting on a horned helmet and rolling a d20. That said, it's really fun. There are some great, meaty vocals ("Hell Beast of the Pale Frost" stands out), and the galloping rhythm in "Into War We Ride" gets the blood pumping. Thy Blackened Reign would be the perfect epic soundtrack to gaming; it's all fantasy and just a little ferocity. (Stormspell)