There aren't many thrash bands that choose to focus on vikings and mythology when it comes to writing material, but then again, there aren't many thrash bands like The Horde. While most bands try to write the fastest, heaviest or most evil music, The Horde focuses on making aggressive, yet epic music. If you take the raw force of Exodus, mix it with the stylings of Iced Earth, and then stir that up in a viking helmet, you get "Thy Blackened Reign."
This record has a lot of things going for it. The riffs are crushing and heavy, and are perfectly complimented by the pummeling drums, as well as the vocals, which sound like a viking shouting battle commands as he prepares for battle. "Death Foretold" has a ridiculously catchy chorus that is sure to bring out the listener's inner savage. another positive on this record is the lead guitar work. The melodies and tremolo sections add more of an atmosphere to the tracks making music perfectly suitable for tracks with titles like "War God" and "Odin's Blood."
"Thy Blackened Reign," however, isn't perfect. At times some songs seem bland and fail to live up to other great tracks on the record. "Hell Beast of the Pale Frost" and "Into War We Ride" both fall victim to this. Both tracks lack anything remotely catchy, which is a shame because there are other tracks that portray just how catchy The Horde's material can be. There weren't any other major flaws, but one aspect of the music that could be improved is the structure. Most of the songs' structuring tended to be the same and predictable. A little more variety would definitely give some more depth to the music.
Overall, "Thy Blackened Reign" makes for a fun listen and it should have no problem in getting the listener to headbang along. The best tracks here are "Death Foretold," "Odin's Blood," and "Vengeance For a King." The Horde is definitely on to something truly special with their brand of thrash, so keep your eye on them.
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Final Rating - 4/5 or 80%.