Abhoria is a dystopian black metal trio that featuring members of Ashen Horde, Catheter and Vimana. They will release their Prosthetic Records self-titled debut album on February 4th, which gives us the perfect opportunity to ask the band about 3 releases that have influenced them musically,
Guitarist Vor comments: “It’s always a kick to select albums that I’d consider direct influences to my own music. I listen to a ton of different things, and assume I take bits and pieces from most everything that I love [sometimes subconsciously] and inject them into what I do, even if it’s not immediately apparent. But whereas influences like Kiss, Sepultura, Def Leppard and Stray Cats may not be at the forefront of the songs I’ve written for Abhoria, I’d be remiss to deny the impact the three albums below have had on me.”
Photo credit: Taeleen Woodard
Enslaved – Frost
While Eld was actually the first Enslaved album I bought (triggered by the inclusion of ‘Glemt’ on an Osmose sampler), Frost was the one that changed my musical life. I had just dipped a toe into the black metal* waters, having already spent a fair bit of time in the death metal deep end. While I loved (and still love) death metal, black metal hit me in a different way. It had the same intensity of death metal—blast beats, trem picking and relentlessness—but traded brutality for chilling melody. With Frost, however, it wasn’t JUST about intensity. You had the folk elements in ‘Yggdrasil’ and ‘Isöders Dronning’, and a song like ‘Fenris’ that was surprisingly rhythmic for black metal. Ivar Bjornson’s writing has also been very influential as he likes to dabble in all sorts of bizarre chords (aka, non-power chords), which is a key focus for me when writing. I was extremely fortunate to catch the 25th anniversary performance of the entire album at the Decibel Fest in Philadelphia, which was close to a religious experience for me!
*Note—I know Enslaved were technically “Viking metal” at the time, but musically, they were very in-line with the BM scene, so I have no qualms about calling them by that tag.
Immortal – At the Heart of Winter
Similar to my comment on Frost, At the Heart of Winter was not my first Immortal album — I’d first gotten into them with Battles in the North, and hung on through the cool but weirdly produced Blizzard Beasts. But At the Heart of Winter was a revelation. It took all the best parts of the early albums, fixed the production issues, and infused a sense of melodic, epic songwriting the band had only dabbled in before. This was the first time I felt like I could actually see Blashyrkh in my head while listening to the album (the brilliant cover may have helped me along, too). This is easily one of my most listened-to black metal albums, and I have no doubt it has influenced my writing significantly. Plus, how do you top a song name like ‘Tragedies Blows at Horizon’?
Khold – Phantom
I was introduced to Khold soon after Phantom came out, and was immediately captivated. Up to that point, I hadn’t paid much attention to mid-paced/groovy black metal, so this one really opened my eyes up to that scene. I loved the fact that it blended black metal grimness with straight-up rock rhythms. While I don’t tap into that writing style often, you’ll spot a few moments on the Abhoria album—the slower bridge in ‘False Idols’ being one instance that comes to mind. On a side note, I also found my way to Tulus through its relation to Khold, and ‘Menneskefar’ from Evil 1999 remains one of my favorite BM songs of all time.