Horde of the Eclipse: blackened impurity from central PA

Friday night I ventured into the darkened back room at Guido’s Speakeasy in Frederick to see/hear Dweller in the Valley, Sloth Herder and Horde of the Eclipse. These three are among my favorite local black metal bands and so to have them all together was a treat. Today, I want to talk a little about Horde of the Eclipse, an atmospheric black metal band from Harrisburg, PA, and I am long overdue in writing about them.

Horde of the Eclipse (Photo provided by band)
Horde of the Eclipse (Photo provided by band)

I first saw Horde of the Eclipse in the cellar of a tattoo shop in Chambersburg, PA. That was a weird little show. The Guido’s show was also kind of weird: minimal lighting, no AC to speak of and a small but devoted crowd. I suppose that’s what you might expect at a black metal show in Frederick.

But even in that tiny room, Horde sounded really good. These guys capture some of the best elements of black metal bands I love, which include Abigail Williams, Agalloch, Setherial and even Horna and Xasthur. The melodies soar and are sometimes enhanced by keyboards, the rhythms are complex and varied (i.e., not just unrelenting blast beats), and the guitars shred. Max Shoop’s vocals are raw and visceral. It’s sometimes hard to believe that those hellish sounds are coming out of his wiry frame.

The songwriting with this band is superior, and every song possesses interesting, memorable melodies and transitions that range from thrashy rocking parts to lush meditative sections. Everything they’ve recorded is on BandCamp, so I encourage you to follow the direction this band is heading. Download it, most of it is free or name your own price. A split with Sloth Herder is in the works, so I will be looking for that.

I think Horde of the Eclipse could be a very big band, that is, in an underground black metal sort of way. Maybe they need a little more time to “ripen” and more time to make the right connections that will position them in front of the right audiences to make that happen. Until then, I will make every attempt to see them when they play.

Horde of the Eclipse is Max Shoop: Vocals/Guitar; Andy Sheaffer: Guitar; Keith Loboda: Bass/Backing Vocals; and Lucas Sweger: Drums.

Check out the gallery I shot (in near darkness) below:

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