Excerpts of the review by Alessio Oriani (7/10):
Compared to the symphonic black metal of the early years Hortus Animae
have moved towards a melodic avant-garde death-black metal, which incorporates elements of dark, progressive and electronica.
Conceptually more interesting and stylistically more intriguing than in the past, Hortus Animae
in 2014 may be placed – in Italian ambit – ideally halfway between Necrodeath, Aborym and Maldoror.
Among the best tracks we point out the elaborate At the End of Doomsday and the ferocious Chamber of Endless Nightmares, but also an excellent cover of Aqualung (Jethro Tull).
Secular Music is overall a really strong album.
Hortus Animae succeed where the Italian national team has failed: to conquer Brazil!
Again a positive review, this time from the top Brazilian magazine Roadie Crew (July isse), 8/10 by André Gaius.
With each album, Hortus Animae
strive more to explore the structures and tempos rather than holding to their Black Metal roots. And Secular Music, fourth album and it marks the return after a lapse of nine years, the Italian advance in the same direction. Basically, Secular Music could be classified as an album of “extreme prog metal”. But it is worth noting that the progressive references are very connected to the seminal bands of the genre. So expect psychedelic trips through keyboards emulating old organ / synth and not just endless changes of tempo. More modern influences can also be felt as some alternations between guttural and ripped strident vocals, the aggressive parts remind of Hecate Enthroned. Unlike previous albums, here the group does not invest much in melodies, which makes it difficult to be digested and instigates some auditions to become familiar with the songs. On the other hand, there are some sticky choruses. Hypnos
(guitar), Simone Mularoni (bass) and the great drummer Grom
(who honed his skills taking lessons from the monstrous John Macaluso) add strong technical dose that is balanced by the creativity of Martyr Lucifer
(vocals) and Bless
(Keyboards) in songs like At the End of Doomsday (Gothic meets Extreme Metal), The Poison of The Naga and the excellent version of Aqualung (Jethro Tull), which respects the original but has a very particular guise.