Horrendous // Ontological Mysterium // Album Review


The architects of progressive death metal Horrendous are back! And with a new slab of gore-soaked chaos, “Ontological Mysterium” see the band continue their now staple sound of off-the-wall death metal.

Formed in 2009, Horrendous are a different breed of animal. Featuring Damian Herring on guitars & vocals, Matt Knox also on guitars & vocals, Alex Kulick on bass & rounded out by drummer Jamie Knox.

From the offset, Horrendous have done death metal on their terms & in their style. Bleeding the chaos of Morbid Angel with the progressive nature of Death & Gorguts to create something that feels like a breath of fresh air in a scene with no room to breathe.

Now with their follow-up to 2018’s seminal album “Idol”, the band return with nine tracks of thought-provoking & an out of box-style death metal within “Ontological Mysterium”.

“The Blaze” opens the album in the most heroic & epic of nature. Large chords & soaring lead guitars help build this larger-than-life track that nicely gets you warmed up for the album. Then dam! They crush you with “Chrysopoeia (The Archaeology of Dawn)”, a thrashy yet expansive track. That allows some beautiful & even powerful vocal sections from Knox & Herring.

Showcasing his fantastic bass skills on the opening of “Aurora Neoterica” Kulick helps drive the track with mesmerising bass lines & the band play around him, adding theses beautiful yet angler passages, a nice little slice of music to break up the harsh & heavy chaos before a track like “Cult of Shaad’oah” gives you an example of how primal & furious the band can be.

Tremolo riffing & tapping lead sections build before they introduce a catchy hook that drives the track & gives me major Death – “Leprosy” nostalgia. This could be the most “standard” death metal track on the album but it’s a long way from being basic. The overlapping riffs from both guitarists, in conjunction with Jamie Knox’s amazing drumming on this track make sure it’s not just your box standard death metal. A track that your regular death metal fan will love but also a track that will push their sonic listening experience. Reintroducing the groove at the end really pays the track off, brings it full circle & stands out as the heaviest track on the album.

Closer “The Death Knell Ringeth” feels justified at the end of the album. Feeling like it’s drenched in gore & ooze, this track opens nicely slowly, building in its intense nature before the band brings in this great & inventive chugging pattern that gives the track a grounded & brutal feel. The track over its five minute run time doesn’t stay its welcome & nicely continues its raging & knuckledraggin. But also using some of the best lead sections from both guitarists on the whole album help contrast this unbridled heaviness.

“Ontological Mysterium” is a real showcase for death metal. Showing the world that it can be horrific but also beautiful & chaotic. Horrendous have always been pushing the boundaries of death metal since their inception & this latest album shows they will never stop. A fantastic journey into the realms of the unknown.

Joseph Mitchell

Ontological Mysterium is out via Season of Mist on 18th August 2023

1. The Blaze (02:00)
2. Chrysopoeia (The Archaeology of Dawn) (07:16)
3. Neon Leviathan (03:30)
4. Aurora Neoterica (01:56)
5. Preterition Hymn (03:58)
6. Cult of Shaad’oah (05:24)
7. Exeg(en)esis, (03:38)
8. Ontological Mysterium (04:44)
9. The Death Knell Ringeth (05:20)
Total run time: 37:44

Recording Line-up:
Matthew Knox
Jamie Knox
Damian Herring
Alex Kulick


Recording Studio: Subterranean Watchtower Studio

Mixing + Mastering: Damian Herring

Artwork: Brian Smith

Photos: Scott Kinkade


CD Digipak
Black vinyl
Gold Vinyl
Frankenstein Vinyl (exclusive double-sided poster drawn by the renowned comic book artist and writer Daniel Warren Johnson)