Horna / Behexen – Split
Capitalizing on the generally well-received and umlaut-infested Ääniä Yössä, Moribund is reissuing three Horna releases - Haudankylmyyden Mailla (Solistitium, 1999), as well as splits with Musta Surma and Behexen. The latter originally came out on Grievantee in 2004, and features four tracks from Horna and three from fellow Finns Behexen.
Honestly, the Horna tracks don't set me alight. Yes, they're grim, cold, and all that. But they perfectly fit the mold, and I'd rather listen to those who made the mold than those who jump in it. By far, my favorite is "Kätketyn Jumaluuden Vartija," which slows things down (I seem to prefer sounds slow these days - aging?) The other tracks are well-done enough, with a punky edge, and are somewhat pleasant - which is probably what black metal shouldn't be.
Behexen, though, pique my interest, despite their extremely silly album covers (1, 2). The guitars are high in the mix and feel like sheets of sound. Although it's harmonically conservative, the guitar work has lots of little movement between and among the chords. Drums are cardboard in the back, and vocals slide off the top with tons of reverb. But guitars run the show here, and that's OK with me.
You can pick up this spiteful split at Moribund.