Hortus Animae (The Garden of the Soul, in Latin) was formed in Rimini (Italy) by Martyr Lucifer (vocals, bass), Lorenzo Bartolini (guitars, keyboards) and Thomas Ghirardelli (drums) with the aim to explore the most diverse sides of extreme metal, mixing it with gothic and progressive rock.
With the help of Leo Adeferri on lead guitar and Eleonora Valmaggi on violin, the band recorded their first demotape An Abode for Spirit and Flesh, positively reviewed in all major specialized magazines. Leo left, Hypnos (guitars) and Bless (keyboards) joined.
Lorenzo and Eleonora left, yet Hortus Animae entered Fear Studio to record their first self produced full-length album The Melting Idols; they added more aggressiveness but still maintaining their great melodic and progressive breaks.
Gigs with Napalm Death, Konkhra, Lacuna Coil and Ancient.
Drummer Thomas left and was replaced by Grom, former of Ancient and DoomSword, with which they entered Fear Studio to record their first official album Waltzing Mephisto.
The band signed to Black Lotus (that also hosted Necromantia, Naer Mataron, On Thorns I Lay, Nightfall and Chris Caffery among others) for the worldwide release of Waltzing Mephisto.
Hortus Animae cooperated with the renowned Norwegian singer Liv Kristine (ex-Theatre of Tragedy, Leaves’ Eyes) for the recording of a Dead Can Dance cover medley, Windfall introducing Summoning of the Muse, destined to the tribute album The Lotus Eaters, (Black Lotus / Season of Mist) that also included Ulver, Antimatter, The Gathering and Anathema, among others. This was the first recording with the new guitarist Amon 418, former of the death metal band Baratro and now in Hate Profile. Martyr, Hypnos and Amon contributed to Opposite Sides’ demo The Eclipse of Existence. Grom released Night Visit with Ancient.
With the new line-up the band entered Alpha-Omega Studio to record The Blow of Furious Winds, to be released by Sleaszy Rider (Ricky Warwick, Theodore Ziras, Space Mirrors among others). The album featured the violinist Moonbeam, former of the cult band Iblis. Followed successful gigs in company of Mortuary Drape and Necrodeath. Amon 418 released his Hate Profile album Opus I: The Khaos Hatefile.
The band slowly entered a lethargy for an unspecified period of time. An official statement was given by Martyr Lucifer on October 2, 2007.
10 years before, the band released their first demotape. Time for celebrations: Sleaszy Rider unleashed a special limited edition boxset, Funeral Nation / 10 Years of Hortus Animae. The box contained two CDs, Waltzing Mephisto – The Demos (with the Abode demo as bonus), and The Blow of Furious Winds (with related “making of” DVD as included in the first version) and different gadgets. The boxed-set was sold out in just a few months.
also was side-projects time: Martyr Lucifer started his cooperation with the international space rock act Space Mirrors, their first album featuring ML, Majestic-12: A Hidden Presence was released by Sleaszy Rider in 2008; Martyr and Amon were also part of Opposite Sides, whose album Soul Mechanics was released via Mondongo Canibale in 2009.
Bless released Voices Inside My Head: An Acoustic Tribute to the Police, with his project Nashville.
Martyr Lucifer teamed up with some Hortus Animae members and international artists like Adrian Erlandsson (At the Gates, Paradise Lost) and Vrolok (ex-Nokturnal Mortum) for the worldwide release of his first output as solo artist, Farewell to Graveland, via Buil2Kill. The same year a 7” split single by Space Mirrors / Acid FM was released exclusively on vinyl by Monster Fuzz.
Considering boxset’s unavailability, the poor availability of old material and the great request from the fans, Hortus Animae released via Thrash Corner (USA) the 2CD compilation Funeral Nation MMXII, that included their discography: The Blow of Furious Winds, Waltzing Mephisto and the never officially released The Melting Idols. This had given rise to numerous rumors of a possible return of the band on the scene, yet unconfirmed. Martyr Lucifer released In Darkness They Whisper with Space Mirrors, the first in the Cosmic Horror trilogy (Transubstans). Bless released Haul in the Nets with his renewed project Nashville & Backbones.
Martyr Lucifer released his second solo effort, Shards (Outlinerekordz) and, with Space Mirrors, Cosmic Horror II: The Other Gods (again on Transubstans and also featuring Bless on piano). At last, Hortus Animae officially announced their return on the scene after 7 years. Hortus Animae reunited with the Waltzing Mephisto line-up (and the help of Simone Mularoni as session bass player and sound engineer) and entered Domination Studio to record Secular Music, their long awaited and claimed comeback album.
Hortus Animae signed a deal with the historical British label Flicknife (Hawkwind, anyone?), for the worldwide release of Secular Music, set to March 24. The same day Satanica Prod. will release the 2CD compilation Godless Years, that contains rare & unreleased material from the vaults. Yes, the Hortus Animae cult is definitely back.
An Abode for Spirit and Fesh (demotape 1998)
The Melting Idols (self produced CD 2000)
Watzing Mephisto (Black Lotus Records 2003)
The Blow of Furious Winds (Sleaszy Rider Records 2005)
Funeral Nation / 10 Years of Hortus Animae (Sleaszy Rider Records 2008)
Funeral Nation MMXII (Thrash Corner Records 2012)
Secular Music (Flicknife Records 2014)
Godless Years (Satanica Productions 2014)