BLACKHORNED, A Night at the Graves (2010, self-released)
It’s well known that The Council frowns on skulls in possession of other bones, which is why skeletons are absolutely forbidden from The Skullection. But here we have an impish skull grinning madly and surrounded by bones that are clearly not a part of his own anatomy. He’s just a cheeky joker, popping out of a midden of human remains, probably to surprise some of his skull buddies, whom I imagine hovering somewhere out of frame. Or maybe this skull romps in piles of bone as a child plays in a heap of raked leaves or drifted snow. He’s just having a laugh, kicking back on a night at the graves, which is one of the few entertainment options available to a free-spirited and underemployed skull these days.
A Night at the Graves collects some rehearsal room demos and some live tracks, and was allegedly sold only at shows on CDR, although I’ve seen it listed at reasonable prices by a few mailorder vendors, so it can’t be that rare. Blackhorned play, as you’d probably expect, sleazy death/thrash with some D-beat leanings. Think Nocturnal Breed, but not as fast. I find this kind of music fairly worthless, but then again, it’s lifestyle metal, made for people who want to cultivate a very specific aesthetic and mystique. Somehow in life, a guy decides he’s gonna start wearing a black denim vest and a bullet belt and aviator glasses and spiked bracers (at least on special occasions). He decides that his music will be cult, his beer cheap, and his showers irregular. He starts off easy, maybe with some Aura Noir and Desaster and two or three bands that start with “Dis-“. And before you know it, he’s got a shrine full of Blackhorned rehearsal demos and a landlord threatening him with eviction. It happens all the time, and there’s nothing any of us can do to stop it.
— Friar Johnsen