Horndal tells true horror stories about their dead, post-industrial hometown with the same name as the band. In 1977 the steel factory was shut, leaving the town to rust away and die. Here’s where the band grew up, here’s where they find inspiration for their music and lyrics. Riffs as angry, heavy and bleak as the lyrics. Some say they are all over the metal genre, combining death, heavy, thrash, prog, punk, doom and what have you. Some are probably right.
Since their debut album Remains from 2019, dealing with the factory closure in 1977, the band has gained a lot of attention and acclaim in both metal and mainstream media. Not least with their sophomore album Lake Drinker from 2021, that dealt with big American tech wanting to exploit the nature surrounding Horndal. With the big break and great reviews came big festivals and great shows in Scandinavia. This show at Desertfest is Horndal’s first in the UK.
The new album “Head Hammer Man”, tells the story about the Great Strike in Sweden in 1909 where the union in Horndal faced Swedish military, evicting families from their homes, causing starvation and famine and got Sweden on the brink of civil war. When the fight was over, a young union leader (who is the hero in this story) was blacklisted and forced into exile with his family. The lyrics couldn’t fit it all, so the singer wrote a whole book about it. A great read for all the four-eyed metal heads out there.
Musically this album opened up and let all corners of the band’s record collection influence the writing. From Pugh Rogefeldt to Autopsy, Wipers to Judas Priest, Hawkwind to Mercyful Fate, Don Cherry to Voivod. A riff borrowed from Sparks here, a solo borrowed from Jake E Lee there. Brass arrangements alongside layered harmony guitars. John Barry’s The Persuaders theme next to King Crimson and The Jesus Lizard. Black Sabbath and The Shadows, Slayer and Sonic Youth.