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Horde: Horde has high hopes for heavy metal, looks to Picador performance

BY REBECCA KOONS | FEBRUARY 26, 2009 1:33 PM

It appears as if today, pure, unadulterated heavy metal is absent from the popular music scene. But it’s the “power of the riff” that propels John Hopkins and the rest of the Horde members, who said they are determined to bring their metal sound to new heights and new audiences.

The Horde will perform at 9 p.m. Friday at the Picador, 330 E. Washington St., with Nethervoid and Larry Sievers.

The band, which has its roots in the Midwest, started up in 2006. The quartet of metal mavens can credit its inception to guitarist Tim Matthews, who knew all of musicians  prior to creating the group. The Quad City quartet has one thing in common: a passion for the craft.

“Basically, everyone in the band is someone who [Tim has] been friends with or played in bands with over the years,” Hopkins said. “The binding factor is a love of metal.”

The Horde is no stranger to the world of classic heavy metal. The group is influenced by some of the most legendary acts of the 40-year-old genre, including the likes of Iron Maiden, Celtic Frost, Slayer, and Motörhead. These bands provided the no-holds-barred, unapologetic riffs, piercing screams, and rumbling growls that added fuel to the fire of every band to follow in their wake.

The Horde is a prime example of this sort of idolatry.

For the band, songwriting is the most important part of their music, Hopkins said, noting that Matthews is usually the key songwriter but everyone else chimes in.

“We figure out what parts work and what ones don’t work until we’re all happy with how the song flows,” he said. “Usually, it involves a lot of return visits to the old drawing board.”

The band released its début album, From Empire to Ashes, in 2008 on Scenester Credentials Records. The album stays true to the classic elements of grandeur, glory, and raw power that have become synonymous with heavy metal. Though only the band’s first effort, the album has received positive reviews and accolades from the media and fans alike.

“So far, the response has been really good,” Hopkins said. “One [review] went as far as declaring it ‘metal album of the year.’ We’re selling a lot of copies at shows.”

With the group’s energetic live performances, he said, audience reaction has been promising. The band has been “blown away” by the outpouring of support, he said, “especially here in Iowa City.”
Iowa City-based black-metal outfit Nethervoid will share the bill with the Horde on Friday night. Nethervoid guitarist Lord Visigoth said he is looking forward to the gig and guests should “expect a showcase of the best heavy metal Iowa City has to offer.”

“I know there are metal heads hiding in this town,” he said.

Even though heavy metal doesn’t dominate the airwaves today as it did in decades past, the Horde members remain fairly optimistic about the genre and its future.

“I think there are a lot of great metal bands kicking around right now and, as always, metal fans are probably the most rabid and supportive,” Hopkins said. “Hopefully, it continues to grow and prosper. Either way, we’ll still be here playing it.”


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