De Horla by Kludde

Release date: March 31, 2023
Label: Consouling Sounds

Lust, hate, vengeance… This is an alarming trio of emotions forming the backbone of De Horla, the third full-length from Belgians Kludde. Superficially falling under the black metal umbrella, the band does a fine job of extending their influences into similar yet distinctly different terrain to ensure they can wring the most out of these volatile feelings that will plague us all at some point.

Opening gambit ‘Horla I: Over Lust’ builds slowly, at times meandering aimlessly initially as it cries into the void – where exactly is this going? It is a deft play, as suddenly the track hones in and unleashes a torrent of blistering blast beats. Yet just as quickly, Kludde settle into a rapid, spritely groove, albeit one still of the very heavy variety, proffering that a certain level of satisfaction has been achieved.

Whilst the hate section of De Horla might be the most straight-forward, ripping through with a genuinely punishing aggressiveness, it is the surrounding instrumental interludes that really catch the ear upon repeated listens. The psychedelic fuzz of the first contrasts perfectly with the cosmic rush of the second, creating two fascinating pieces bristling with creative sparks. In doing so, the band push this beyond being just another darkness-filled black metal album that snuggly fits an all too familiar mould.

As well as Kludde capture the first pair of the trio, the finale of ‘Horla III: Over Wraak’ loses it way too often during its twelve plus minutes to satisfy in a way those two did. Still bearing a lot of the hallmarks that the band are crafting as their own, however it spins out like a villain’s monologue: verging on the pompous and monotonous, it never truly feels like vengeance.

Despite the weight of the subjects De Horla approaches, Kludde manage to inject the record with a dose of levity. It’s loud, it’s fast, it’s angry, but they appear to have a lot of fun cajoling it all into a single story. There is also a graphic novel coming later in the year, so it will be interesting to see how the aural rollercoaster of the music translates to a more visual medium.

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