The words ‘independently released’ and ‘Melodic Death Metal’ don’t always inspire great confidence when placed in the same sentence. Among the myriad of bands fighting to make themselves heard, these are frequently bywords for a self-indulgent guitarist dragging behind him a mediocre band impersonating Carcass on holiday in Gothenburg. Enter New York’s The Hudson Horror; a youthful and refreshingly un-Death Metal-looking shower from a city with its own rich musical history. Looks are one thing but realistically, what could these young pups know of the canny craftsmanship required to impress an audience who have heard it all before?
Well, quite a bit as it turns out!
As the cover art suggests, Nemesis is rich in occult symbolism and populated with hairy-palmed confessionals of transfiguration and lycanthropy (albeit the use of movie samples suggest that tongue is placed firmly in cheek). While first track, “What The Moon Brings”, deposits it’s calling card from a tide of whinnying guitar harmonies, it is the furrowed brow vocals of Dan Kelly that grab us by the throat and won’t let go. This guy is not only a great lyricist but has the best breath control we’ve heard in many a moon. He growls, screams, roars and everything in between, threatening to lose his shit altogether as he dives from the relatively controlled opener into the breakneck “Visions Of Disgust.” So, The Hudson Horror can play a bit and they have an above average set of lungs up front. What of it?
Well, strap yourself down, because shit is about to get progressive.
By the time we hit “The Orphidan Resurrection” and the anthemic “Wolf’s Blood”, The Hudson Horror have all but shrugged off their influences and sound entirely their own entity. They deploy touches of Black Metal in their use of oxygen-sucking dischords but as with their Death Metal leanings, they refuse to get bogged down in any one genre. So much as blink your eyes and they’ll grab you by the heels, dragging you off somewhere else entirely. However, it’s not until the second half of Nemesis that their most contemporary and exciting material truly unfurls. “Anthema” brings to mind Periphery as Jazz licks meander back and forth behind the off-kilter Djent stylings and “Scarlet” furthers that denouement, face-meltingly complex but never allowing musical showboating to get in the way of the song.
We are oft prone to deliver sermons on the folly of trading musicality for brutality but with their combination of European Death Metal melody and distinctly American aggression, this band deliver both. Their mid tempo battery doesn’t get much more heavy and yet in the hands of this calibre of musician, it’s never inaccessible. Incidentally, while we’re hovering around the subject; Tyreek Jackson’s bass playing comes goddamn close to making Nemesis. He wrings chords from it, taps it, throws in fills alongside the guitars, never sounding anything other than welded to the flanks of Annie Buchwald’s pleasingly organic drumming.
As the thirty-six minutes of Nemesis passes in a heartbeat, we get the impression that we are but scratching the surface of what these folks are capable of. Brutal, catchy, sophisticated with great solos, even better riffs and a rhythm section who could blow the backside off a concrete elephant, The Hudson Horror are the dictionary definition of a modern Extreme Metal band.
For the love of Beelzebub! Earache, Season of Mist, Nuclear Blast, someone, anyone…. sign this band right now and book them on a European tour! 9/10