The Keys of Life and Death, the debut album of Dayton metal band Horlet, is crunchy and tight from beginning to end. This cd has been in my player for a month now and shows no signs of getting stale! The heavy riffs SLAM, weaving lots of tandem melody lines and intricate percussion with great composition and production quality.
The album flows really well as a whole, with some really interesting interludes or intros that transition from song to song smoothly and change the tension. For me, some of the tastiest parts are the sweet breakdowns that leave space for the percussion and bass to standout and drive the tone into the next section. The vocals are aggressive and bring the energy level over the top and keep it there. In Horlet, I hear shades of Lamb of God, Iron Maiden, thrash metal, some old-school and some new-school, which results in a killer combination that is all their own.
Formed in 2009, Horlet is Jason Lyons (vocals), Keith Byerman (guitar), Seth Mullins (guitar), Allen McCowan (bass), and Eric Barnes (percussion). As of this writing, the band has added its newest member, Evan English (from Biogenesis and Coffin Birth Conspiracy) on keyboards, and they are excited about adding this new texture to their music. I met with members of the band in April to discuss this great album, the writing process and their plans.
I was surprised to learn that the material on the album came from two different writers, Byerman and Mullins, who each had back-catalogs of previously written songs. Their writing styles blend well and the album sounds very cohesive, as if the whole group had written it together or it had been orchestrated by one primary song writer. In recording, the band utilized Guitar Pro (a music charting program) to pass and learn songs. During the process, the band agreed that percussion recording went the fastest and smoothest. The interludes on the album, which range from acoustic guitar or keyboard to some very Eastern-sounding rhythms, were specifically added with a mind to each transition and add a lot to the flow of the album as a whole. After all the tracks were laid down came many months of post-production and fine-tuning by the band’s own Keith Byerman. In addition to writing and guitar, Byerman happens to be a very talented audio engineer, and the band expressed their respect for his skills at the mixing board and his great ear.[youtube http://youtu.be/Tsh6MJiTtM4]
The members of Horlet come from Dead Broke, Hollow Offering, and Darkness Undying and site all types of metal as influences to their overall style. In the local scene, the guys mentioned that they especially appreciate the talents and spirit of Forces of Nature, saying that they always have a blast any time they share a stage. In 2014, the band is looking forward to a lot of local shows supporting The Keys of Life and Death and especially to playing the Rock the Farm festival later this summer. A bank of new material is already waiting for the next album, which they hope will be released early next year.
Until then, click the links below to get your copy of The Keys of Life and Death, catch Horlet’s live set, and spread the word about this great Dayton band!