Horros was formed in the fall of '08. In the spring of '09 the band recorded two rehearsal-tapes that were not officially released, and after that they released a self-titled EP, this time recorded in a studio. Now, in the autumn of 2009, the band decided to release a 5-song rehearsal recording as a demo-tape. Their style is Crust-based, but with influences from for example thrash metal.

The demo starts with a short slow atmospheric part which soon turns into fast beating with a simple riff and low, hoarse shouted vocals. This pleasant beating (eh?) takes another turn after a minute or so in the song's middle part which is a lot slower and has a pleasantly jamming riff. It's atmosphere is topped with a really fitting speech sample from Mad Max, one that I didn't even recognise as a sample at first. The song ends the way it begun: the fast beating makes a comeback. Song two is a short piece of thrashy grind, meaning that it's even faster than the previous one. It makes a nice impact with it's violence and rhytmic values, especially in it's chorus. The third song is the longest on the demo, and stylistically it's rather sludgy. It has a good riff, but the song overall lacks edge; maybe it would've worked better if it was shorter? The hoarse vocals do a great job on this one, adding a good dose of atmosphere. Song four is again a fast and rather short one with "wavy" riff progression, and possibly the best song on the demo. It's riffs are really catchy, and it's speed gives it a lot of kick. Song five is somewhere above mid-tempo, and it has an oddly relaxed feel due to it sounding a bit like jamming; the riffs and their progress are really natural and the drums back 'em up really well whilst sounding interesting on their own, too. The track is some kind of really crusty rock with hoarse shouted vocals, and serves as a really good closer for the demo: it makes you want to hear more.

The band said that they were aiming for really lo-fi/lousy sounds, and I must say that they succeeded. The demo's name "Morbid Crust" really gets you a long way here. The drums are hissing but still well audible, the bass can be heard but it doesn't have the actual bass frequencies for most of the time, and the guitars are really damp. The two vocalist sound pleasantly different, and the variation between growls, screams and shouts keeps things interesting. Sadly the harsh soundscape takes a lot of edge from the vocals, although it makes 'em thinner and harsher and thus more fitting to it. This soundscape ties the songs' different natures and elements together nicely, and makes the demo sound unified. I don't know if it was intertional or not, but the record's volume level is so low that you really have to crank up the volume: this causes the hissing white noise that's produced by just playing the cassette to be well audible, noticeably bothering the listening experience and damaging the songs. The volume levels also change slightly between some tracks.

This demo leaves a confused image. What was the band going for? Were they just experimenting with the soundscape, and maybe showing their fans how they'd sound with such lo-fi sounds whilst introducing a couple of new tracks? Were they trying to give a glimpse of their "live sound", or to show that they play rather well together and aren't afraid to cross genre-boundaries with their music? If it was any of these things, they succeeded. The demo leaves a positive image of the band, but as a release it could be better; the whole isn't too unified due to the massive differences between the songs presented in such a short time, although the soundscape ties 'em a little closer together. More importantly, the soundscape just doesn't do too much right to the songs; they would make a lot greater impact if they we're recorded with sounds that would be crafted to suit their needs.

I'll surely be waiting to see what the band comes with next. I hope they manage to harness their ideas into a tighter, more unified whole on their next proper release. Thumbs up for the fittingly crusty cover arts.

3 / 5