Hidden Gem: Horde – Hellig Usvart

Horde’s Hellig Usvart was recorded in July 1994 and released by Nuclear Blast Records that same year. Hellig Usvart is a landmark album for that fact that it was the first black metal style album recorded with Christian themes as opposed to the Satanic and anti-Christian themes of the blooming black metal scene in Norway at the time. Hellig Usvart is Norwegian for “holy unblack” which is a wordplay on the song and catchphrase, if you will, of Darkthrone’s “Unholy Black Metal” from their 1993 album Under a Funeral Moon.

Hellig Usvart is performed by a one man band. As is common in black metal, a pseudonym was used instead of a real name. The sole person who is Horde called himself Anonymous in the album liner notes.  Anonymous is primarily a drummer, but he performed all instruments and vocals on the album.

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Horde’s Hellig Usvart is similar to other black metal albums of the time when it was released. The cover is black and white, it has lo-fi production (album was recorded in 4 days!), fast guitar riffs, and the blast beat style drumming the genre is known for. If you’re a drummer you will want to hear this album. The drumming of Anonymous is superb.

When Hellig Usvart was released in 1994 it created a lot of controversy within the black metal scene due to the lyrical content being anti-Satanic. Black metal music was still very associated with evil at this point in the time. The church burnings and murders that happened in Norway the previous two years were still fresh in people’s minds, and the ideology that produced a hatred of Christianity was strong. Nuclear Blast Records head Markus Staiger received death threats regarding revealing the true identity of Anonymous.

Some of my favorite tracks on this album include “Behold, the Rising of the Scarlet Moon”, “Drink From the Chalice of Blood, “Invert the Inverted Cross”, and “Mine Heart Doth Beseech Thee (O Master)” which actually did not appear on the original album release, but the track was added on a 10th anniversary re-release.

Over time the true identity of Anonymous came out as being Jayson Sherlock who played drums formerly for Mortification, Paramecium, and currently for Revulsed.

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Jayson does not live in Norway like one may have guessed when first hearing the Norwegian Black Metal Style record in 1994. Horde is from the complete opposite side of the globe hailing from Melbourne, Australia. He revealed in a 2006 interview with Son of Man Records his purpose for making the Horde album:

“Within the black metal scene, watching all the way across the world, all I could see was a bleak, dark, hopeless, lifeless and negative void. All I wanted to do was to shine a light into that darkness.”

Jayson Sherlock, with the music of Horde, influenced a whole sub genre of artists to perform black metal, or unblack metal as it is often referred to, with Christian and anti-Satanic lyrical themes. Other artists who can be identified as unblack metal are Antestor, Crimson Moonlight, Elgibbor, Hazeroth, Grave Declaration, and Admonish along with many others.

Check out some of Horde’s music here:

Purchase some Horde merchandise at the following sites:

Limited Edition Vinyl and Patch

Horde T-Shirt

 

Written by Isaac Sauers

 

 

 

Isaac

Isaac

Chief Of Operations, 30, lives in North VA but grew up in PA, married, baseball and metal. Kiss, Megadeth, Mötley Crüe, King Diamond, Mayhem, Mortification, Poison, P.O.D., Zao, Elgibbor, Demoniciduth, Led Zeppelin
Isaac

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