Hollenthon
Domus Mundi


4.5
superb

Review

by Bartender EMERITUS
January 16th, 2005 | 31 replies | 6,541 views


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist


Released 1999 on Napalm Records.

Martin Schirenc - practically everything
Elena Schirenc - lyrics, occasional vocals
Mike Groger - drums

Hollenthon is a horrendously overlooked side-project of Pungent Stench mainstay Martin Schirenc. Anyone familiar with Pungent Stench's..interesting brand of death metal could probably guess that anything Schirenc is involved in won't be entirely normal.

To fill in the uninitiated, Pungent Stench are an Austrian band who make a very groovy, catchy variant on death metal, with a sense of humour. Often what could be called a rather tasteless humour, but that's just half the fun. They release albums fairly sporadically (though I think they have just recently released another), and at the time of the release of this, they were actually broken up, a state of affairs which thankfully turned out to be temporary.

Anyway, Domus Mundi was released about five years ago and, though the few people who took notice of it were impressed, it was largely and unfortunately overlooked. It's premise is rather simple - Schirenc makes an extreme metal album whilst indulging his love of world music. Funds dictate that he doesn't actually work with all the different people who would be required to make all the various pieces of the album, but rather just uses samples. It's quite ridiculously well put together though, so most of the time, you just can't tell. In a brief overview, the album starts in Europe (Renaissance-style) with an orchestra, and proceeds to journey through, amongst others, the Middle East, America (native American styled themes), back to Europe (this time for choral and Gregorian samples), Ireland/Scotland and New Zealand. Don't take this to mean each song is sharply divided from the others - elements often mix.

As a quick aside, "Domus Mundi" is Latin for "house/home of the world", a name which actually means something in light of hearing the album.

Of course, the fear would be that any semblance of good music would just be lost in the mire of indulgent avant-garde excess this could so easily turn out to be. Fortunately, this is not the case. I don't know whether he chose his samples and built his writing into it, or vice versa, but whichever he did, he's made sure that each song is just that - a song. He forms real hooks and choruses out of the various samples, and each song has a core of classic metal. Bloody good metal at that; high-quality riffs and solos abound. The clean, melodic lead which comes in about 2:11 into Homage is heart-shakingly awesome. Groger isn't lax on drums, either.

Competent they may be, but the focus of the album isn't musicianship; it remains on effect, atmosphere and, not to sound too high-brow, how blatantly cool the samples and, often, the ways they interact with the metal, are. Prime example of this comes in the form of Lure. Apart from maybe the part of Homage already mentioned, Lure's beginning is the best moment on the album; after a fast paced riff, it slows down to a crawl for some slow dragging and chugging of guitar, dramatic drumming and the best use of Gregorian chants on the whole album. Seriously, if you thought Gregorian chanting could never be cool, or both awe-inspiring and catchy at the same time, listen.

All of this brought together makes for some of the most original, catchiest and most interesting metal, death or otherwise, I've heard in a long time. And just when it seems things could be no better, by practically all accounts that I've seen, Hollenthon's second album, With Vilest of Worms to Dwell, is even better than this. Frankly, I can't wait to get my hands on it.

4.6/5

Recommended songs:
You can take your pick, based on style, or otherwise. Homage is possibly the best song on the album, and Lure has the aforementioned brilliance of the Gregorian chants - try listening to it at high volume, in the dark. Reprisal, though close to being the weakest track on the album, was an early favourite of mine, and uses Maori war chants (I think) rather effectively. Both Interlude and Premonition bring in Celtic themes (plenty of Scottish and Irish folk influence), if that's what appeals to you, and the tracks which bookend the album, Enrapture and Eclipse fall very firmly on the epic side of things (with the former being more orchestral than the latter).



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user ratings (22)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
A.K. (5)
Death Metal that incorporates prayer calls, war chants, Gregorian chant, and folk melodies....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Mekkalayakay
December 12th 2004



167 Comments


I love coming across bands that I have never heard of, and you know quite a few Bartender.

Great review, and I shall be checking these guys out. (Hollenthon and Pungent Stench)

blueyxd
December 12th 2004



77 Comments


Great review, as usual.
I've still only heard Homage, and I still think it's great. I surely will be checking out more some time, also Pungent Stench if they are notably different to the norm.

Bartender
Emeritus
December 12th 2004



826 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks, both of you. I'm not sure if you'd like Pungent Stench too much blue, as they're a bit more firmly rooted in death metal rather than just metal. They're a lot harsher a lot of the time, but then, they do throw a lot of weirdness in there too, so maybe you'd find it to your liking anyway.

If you liked Homage, which I gathered you did, then you should like the rest of this album at least.

Distorted Vision
December 12th 2004



184 Comments


This sounds darn cool, Mr Bartender.

Dancin' Man
December 12th 2004



719 Comments


I am interested. If it's different, I have to hear it.

bassaholica2004
December 12th 2004



40 Comments


I've heard Pungent Stench, and I think they're pretty cool. Its like groovy death metal. This album sounds pretty cool, I love hearing new things. I have a question though; Is it mostly DM or is it like world music with some guitars thrown in? Either way, I'll try to check it out.

Mardy
December 12th 2004



36 Comments


where can I get some of the music ? Soulseek can't find anything

Mekkalayakay
December 12th 2004



167 Comments


I'm listening to samples of this band. It's interesting, different, and definately worth my time.

blueyxd
December 12th 2004



77 Comments


[QUOTE=bassaholica2004]Is it mostly DM or is it like world music with some guitars thrown in?[/QUOTE]
The song I heard sounded heavily influenced by Moroccan music, and a horn section made up a fair amount of the music too. Probably shared 50/50. Keep in mind that's just one song.

Mardy, I found it on soulseek fairly quickly. Just chuck it on the wishlist, as slsk searches are nowhere near as good as they used to be.

Per Ardua Ad Astra
December 12th 2004



106 Comments


Sounds good, plus Napalm Records puts out some good stuff. I will be checking this out.

Bartender
Emeritus
December 13th 2004



826 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

[QUOTE=bassaholica2004]I have a question though; Is it mostly DM or is it like world music with some guitars thrown in? Either way, I'll try to check it out.[/QUOTE]

I'd probably agree with blue's 50/50 assessment, though I hadn't really thought about it beforehand.

Mekka - where are the samples? For Mardy, if nothing else.

Mardy
December 13th 2004



36 Comments


I've heard the samples on their website if that's what you mean

Maybe I should try and order the record, although it's pretty difficult in my area

Bartender
Emeritus
December 13th 2004



826 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

There's a fairly reliable English-based webstore I use called www.supernalmusic.com. Very good for extreme metal, and last I checked it had this album for 9.99. Cheap for me, though I don't know what prices are like for you.

Dancin' Man
December 13th 2004



719 Comments


I need to find some good US webstores. I always hear about Bartender's amazing UK ones.

Per Ardua Ad Astra
December 13th 2004



106 Comments


Good us webstores...
www.theendrecords.com
www.amazon.com
www.redstream.org

Det_Nosnip
December 13th 2004



374 Comments


Bartender, I bow before your amazing ability to track down avant guarde metal. :lol: This sounds ****ing awesome.

Mekkalayakay
December 13th 2004



167 Comments


[QUOTE=Bartender]I'd probably agree with blue's 50/50 assessment, though I hadn't really thought about it beforehand.

Mekka - where are the samples? For Mardy, if nothing else.[/QUOTE]


They are only 30 second samples :-/

www.cdnow.com

or

www.barnesandnoble.com

JMann
December 19th 2004



12 Comments


Great review. I downloaded Homage on emusic.com after reading your review. I loved it so much I downloaded the whole album. It is a great album and will be in rotation in my stereo for some time. EMusic has another one of thier releases as well that I will surely be downloading next month. :thumb:

Bartender
Emeritus
December 20th 2004



826 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

That'll be With Vilest of Worms to Dwell, I think, unless they've released another behind my back. It's supposed a lot more symphonic/operatic, but overall seems to be held to be better that this. I'm gonna have to get it for mysel soon, too.

denboy
December 20th 2004



85 Comments


So far I've only heard the first half of the first track.. But damn this is great!



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