Dayton’s Horlet release their debut album, The Keys of Life and Death, a pulverizing blast of death metal slam-dancing your face into the cold concrete. With 17 tracks including four interludes that violate the ear yet make the brain want to hear more, Horlet takes us to ancient Egypt to hear the voices of the gods. We’re also warned of manmade Armageddon, the ancient curses of unknown dark entities and offered knowledge from the Tablets of Thoth.
It’s solid, fast Nile-inspired death metal peppered and sprayed with Iron Maiden guitar soloing, a Norse drinking horn full of Amon Amarth inspiration and lyrics from the mysterious mouth of the Egyptian river. Jason Lyons’ vocals spend most of the album in the high pitch demon screech octave with the occasional morbid growling. He spits the acrid carcass over everything giving Egypt, the desert and the ancient Gods a new coat of fresh decay.
Opener “Wings of Aerial” starts blast beating into a guitar chug Viking metal roar. First instrumental interlude “The Fallen” is an enticing mixture of Middle Eastern keys and notes strummed with sitar, samisen and a string quartet. Then death “From the Clouds” comes with its icy frozen chill of Maiden-esque guitar notes.
The Godsmack sounding acoustic “Whisper of Solitude” melds into the building sheet metal buzz-saw guitar riffs of “So Far Away” with Lyons chewing nails on a mourning poem about a lost love/hate manipulative relationship and the emotional poisoning that’s still alluring. “Annabelle’s Curse” is the crunchy, munchy revenge circle pit tune.
“The Visit” breathes the breath of the gods into the speaker with a techno itch and uncertain feeling bleeding into “Taken” as the robotic godlike cyborg invasion cripples mankind.
“He Who Walks the Sands” allures with its seductive sand dance for the Pharaoh’s enjoyment. Then “Gypsy” pulls a Mercyful Fate riff straight out of hell’s ass.
“Those Who Follow the Kings” majesty march across treacherous dunes to do his bidding and please the will of Shu and Ra.
Horlet is a strong macabre mixture of veteran local talent with Lyons and guitarist Seth Mullins formerly of A Rogue’s Sorrow and Hollow Offering, bassist Allen McGowan of The Keep, Glitch and Cell 13. Guitarist Keith Byerman of Freq and the Jam Bandits and drummer Eric Barnes formerly pounded for The End, Leveled, Trioxin, Dead Broke, Darkness Undying and currently plays for King Stench, The Transylvanian HellHounds and Connection Ground. www.horlet.com.