Gideon's Horn - Triumphant Command (Northern Doom)

Beyond the obvious brilliance of injecting Jewish culture into a subgenre that has, to put it very lightly, a ‘Nazi Problem’, Gideon’s Horn achieve far more than just a ‘fuck you’ to fascism a la Book of Sand. In fact, it would be a tragic error to view this project in these terms alone; Judaism, after all, has far too long and storied a history to be defined by its enemies.

Gideon’s Horn take their name from a powerful prophet who led a small force to great victory, and this proud heritage shines in their reinterpretation of medieval black metal (BM) – visually, lyrically, instrumentally – through the Tanakh’s ancient histories. Triumphant Command isn’t just another melodic BM album with a strong concept, either – there are plenty of unusual twists, which exude irreverence for mainstream tropes. Deranged, slippery vocals recall the unhinged vigour of fellow pre-capitalist anomaly Noble Dechet, while sinuous song-writing takes the music through satisfying yet unconventional routes. In another parallel to the Quebecois acid-BM project, the band utilise a wide timbral toolkit, albeit more judiciously. The opener treats us to roughshod riffing, spelunking into dungeon-synth before re-surfacing with a commanding solo; “קרן גדעון” anchors melodic klezmer excursions and further electronic meddling with a determined heavy metal stomp; and in the climactic closer mischievous woodwind interjections and wonked-out guitar explorations work in tandem toward an impressive end. The dust never seems to settle, nor do the ideas run dry. Triumphant Command is as glorious and wise as the commander it invokes – let us hope this is but the opening exultation from Gideon’s Horn.