Review Summary: Riffs so good you'll forgive these guys for their highly intolerant ideologies.
Self-proclaimed ‘Riff-Supremacists’ Arghoslent have made a name for themselves with their racially intolerant yet strangely appealing brand of melodic death metal. Hornets of the Pogrom is the group’s third release and promises to be one of the strongest death meal outputs of the year.
To say that Arghoslent are unique would be selling them short. Beyond their racist and militant ideals sits an extremely unique blend of traditional metal and death metal, one that employs a perfectly executed Maiden-esque gallop as well as the guttural vocals of new vocalist The Genocider, who makes his debut on this album replacing the similar sounding but recently deceased Von Demonicus. In stern contrast to the group’s aggressively intolerant image and historically veiled hatemongering, Arghoslent play a relatively melodic brand of death metal, one that thankfully avoids the aphoristic “mellow” death tag and steers clear of the prototypical Swedish sound.
Though it begins with a mess of whammy-bar masturbation and less than organised chaos, album opener “In Coffles They Were Lead” sets itself into a mid-paced gallop that revolves almost entirely around an extravagant barrage of leads, excellently setting the pace for the rifftastic onslaught that’s set to carry out for the next 7 tracks. “Swill of the Knaves” borrows from the group’s black metal connection and makes wonderful use of tremolo picking, while the moody and dynamic instrumental title track bridges the gap between the almost east-Asian sounding “Oracle of the Malefic Rhizome” and the apocalyptic “The Grenadier”.
Lyrically, Hornets of the Pogrom is make-or-break, do or die. Or so you’d think. In reality, the lyrics are written in such a way that the underlying racist and nationalistic ideologies are relatively indiscernible. Barring the somewhat direct lyrics of “The Nubian Archer” (Born with genetic imperfections, the Nubian Archer unable to grasp the shortcomings of his brood) and a passage in “Swill of the Knaves” (Centuries of blood becomes erased, I am the white ghost), most of the lyrics on the album are going to go over the head of those without a strong grasp on history and language. Complaining about the lyrics would be an exercise in futility, as they’re not particularly significant.
Coming into the album you should certainly be aware of Arghoslent’s ideological standpoint, but you shouldn’t let it get to you. Don’t let a lyrically pedantic history lesson ruin the experience. Don’t see their views as anything more than attention getting. In the end, the band’s lyrical and ideological significance is grossly outweighed by the excellent guitar work, brutal yet intelligible vocals and calculated yet powerful drumming. If you agree with Arghoslent’s worldview that’s one thing, but if you ignore this album because you don’t, the Nazis win. Excellent addition to an already outstanding discography.