With Vilest Worms to Dwell (Napalm)
by Paul Lee
I thought Therion had cornered the market on orchestral dark metal, but now there’s a new challenger to the throne. Hollenthon combine more death and black metal influences to make these Austrians a force to be reckoned with. Main man Martin Schirenc comes from the perverse death metal band Pungent Stench, and he certainly hasn’t lost his twisted edge with this great fusion of classical and metal.
Schirenc incorporates plenty of samples of string, choral, and horn sections without the luxury of a proper orchestra, but his fusion is nearly flawless, at times reminiscent of Young Gods. The music blends power metal that would fit on a Nevermore album, classical music in the vein of Tchaikovsky, and a bit of a Middle Eastern flavor in some of the tunes. Throughout the album, Schirenc’s vocals alternate between a black metal growl and a clean, Dan Swano-like style, which adds another dimension to an already diverse disc.
My interest in black and death metal has been waning, but thankfully Hollenthon have arrived in time to remind me that there’s still excellent metal in the world. The twisted artwork created by Schirenc suits the music with cadavers morphed into reptiles and insects. From start to finish, Vilest… is one of the finest and most diverse metal albums of 2001 and these Austrians lead Napalm Record’s army of great bands.
(PO Box 382 Bremerton, WA 98337)