In 2003 Himsa dropped Courting Tragedy and Disaster on an unsuspecting hardcore and metal scene. It was an intense follow up to and a major stylistic shift from their first full-length album, Ground Breaking Ceremony. The five piece went through a bit of lineup shuffling (Nothing new to a band that has replaced everyone but the bassist at least once over the year) during the next few years of intense support of Courting Tragedy and Disaster.
Fast forward to the current day. With a slightly different writing team (Kirby Johnson and Matt Wickland) than what composed Courting Tragedy and Disaster, Himsa set to the task of preparing the follow up record. A bit of internal strife occurs and a former member and writing contributor on the last record, Sammi Curr, rejoins the band to replace Wickland. All of these events - constant touring, internal turmoil, etc. - shaped Himsa's latest album, Hail Horror.
Hail Horror is a vicious, violent slab of music that seethes with both a more punishing and polished feel. With Tue Madsen (The Haunted, Heaven Shall Burn) handling the production duties, this new record is monstrous sounding. The sound is almost impeccable and only enhances the material. Hail Horror does seem to lack some of the focus and incredibly melodic guitar pieces that Courting Tragedy and Disaster had, but it is definitely heavier and more unrelenting than its predecessor.
"Anathema" leads off the album in an all to apro pos manner. The tolling bell is used with great ominous affect as the band positively rips through the song. "The Destroyer," a song that has been a part of the live set for sometime, is super heavy. It moves constantly and does not let up in its sheer intensity. "Pestilence" is a bit catchy, while "Wolfchild" is reminiscent of something that could have been on Courting Tragedy and Disaster. It's a barn burner that has pretty good melodic guitar sections. "Seminal" follows directly after and proceeds to kick it into overdrive. Not only is it catchy, but it is one of the best songs on Hail Horror. "Send Down Your Reign" is the closing track of the album. It is pretty crazy and unrelenting in its attack. The riffing is brutal and there are several instances of this slowed up break that have a false ending feel before the album comes to a screeching halt rather than fading out the record. This is a fitting way to end the album.
Hail Horror is the darker, more twisted companion album to i>Courting Tragedy and Disaster. It gives the intense impression that it is the culmination of group catharsis. Should Himsa tour in the manner that they have become known for, this album will only further increase their stature in the latest wave of modern metal.