"Hordes of Zombies"

By Thor

Terrorizer, one of the first U.S. grindcore acts and among the handful of bands responsible for extreme music in all its forms, is back with “Hordes of Zombies”, a decidedly metallic and horror-themed (both real and imagined) strain of the genre.

The album is as lean as they come, featuring mostly straightforward, no-frills songs composed of the genre’s basic ingredients such as blast beats, D-beats, monotone mid-ranged guttural vocals, and low-tuned guitars.  The song arrangements are concise as well.  This approach can be either a positive or a negative depending on your musical tastes, or maybe just your attention span.

While I find the majority of the album to be solid, as-advertised grind, it does sound a bit homogenized, which becomes monotonous rather quickly.  The songs don’t differentiate from one another and become truly interesting until the last handful of tracks.  The first two-thirds of the album is song after song of nearly identically composed pieces, all of which are typified by the repetitive phrasing of vocals that are devoid of any emotion or visceral assertiveness, which is the album’s biggest flaw.

“Hordes of Zombies” is certainly not without appeal.  Production-wise, the album sounds ferocious and for a song or two, the business-like, no-nonsense approach to grind and Terrorizer’s steadfast adherence to it, as well as the band’s flawless execution lend the songs a unique energy.  However, that energy wanes quickly and by the time the formula gets tossed aside and things become interesting later on the album, it’s difficult to care much.

The album’s highlights include its title track as well as the songs “Malevolent Ghosts”, “Forward to Annihilation” (this song absolutely crushes), and “State of Mind” all of which feature relatively dynamic compositions and vocals.  Fans of early Carcass, early Sepultura and the previous Terrorizer albums shouldn’t hesitate to get their hands on “Hordes of Zombies” because it packs a wallop in small doses.  Just don’t expect it to deliver some sort of extreme music revelation.