Seven years is a long time to keep fans waiting, yet HOLLENTHON have managed to pick up where they left off with their latest release Opus Magnum. Composed once again by mastermind Martin Schirenc and lyrically embellished by Elena Schirenc, Opus Magnum delivers a worthy follow-up to With Vilest of Worms to Dwell that will surely leave fans begging for more. But we are not here to praise an album that has already been described as the 2008 Metal highlight, but rather take a look back at the band's interesting history.
HOLLENTHON was born out of a very casual project known as VUZEM. Martin used the project as a creative outlet to counteract the writing style of his mayor band, the now defunct PUNGENT STENCH. He never intented to release any of the material, but while working for the underground label Dark Matter Records, he put together a compilation CD of bands associated with the Austrian Black Metal Syndicate that included Pervertum, Trifixion, Knechte des Schreckens, Golden Dawn, and Pazuzu. It was the mastermind behind Pazuzu (and later Raventhrone) that convinced Martin to include to VUZEM tracks on the 1995 release of the A.B.M.S. Norici Obscura Pars. After much consideration, Martin complied with the monumental tracks "Von Denen Bluthsaugern" and "Invocation".
"The ABMS was just a bunch of bands that played black metal – no terrorist organization or whatsoever - and I didn’t even consider myself as a part of them. Back then I was running a small label and I released a compilation with Austrian black metal bands. The album also featured two of my songs, but that’s about it regarding my role in the ABMS." - Martin Schirenc
Vuzem soon came to the attention of NAPALM RECORDS. Silenius of SUMMONING, acting completely on his own, introduced VUZEM's music to boss and CEO Markus Riedler, who quickly offered the band a deal. With the signing of the contract also came the name change to HOLLENTHON...
"I just picked the name "VUZEM" when Ray asked me to put 2 songs of my then-nameless project on the ABMS compilation. It was the name of a clothing store in Vienna and I saw their ad on the back of a phonebook. I liked the name and that’s how I picked it. When I was about to release my first album, I decided to change it to HOLLENTHON, because I wanted to avoid legal problems with the store." - Martin Schirenc
HOLLENTHON's debut release Domus Mundi entagled its listeners in a web of mystique, dynamism, intensity, and forceful composition of epic proportions. It marked a transitional new beginning for songwriter/guitarist/vocalist Martin Schirenc of PUNGENT STENCH fame. His innovative approach combined death/black/heavy metal with classical as well as ethnic undertones, that added a distinctive twist to each composition. HOLLENTHON succeeded in capturing a perfect blend of intriguing melody lines, unforgiving rhythms, and vivid lyrical content at the hands of Elena Schirenc that created its somber yet energetic mood. The resounding soundtrack-like production provided a magnificent backdrop for the introduction of Domus Mundi's diversity and the unique style that gave HOLLENTHON an added edge in the metal genre. At the advent of the new millenium HOLLENTHON looked to the future, while remaining ever so reverent to the past.
"Hollenthon is without a doubt one of the most interesting metal bands of the new generation and this is only the beginning." - Vincent Eldefors for Tartarean Desire
The second coming of HOLLENTHON, With Vilest of Worms to Dwell boasts of a superb soundtrack-like production that captivates the most critical of listeners. The fierce and wicked atmosphere created by a perfect symbiosis of heavy guitars, symphonic interludes, thrilling choirs, and bewitching melodies proved to be the release that launched HOLLENTHON out of obscurity and into the well-deserved limelight.
With Vilest of Worms to Dwell runs 45 minutes. It consists of 8 powerful songs that at times, invoke the excitement of the tempest, and at others the tranquil and solemn, yet nevertheless potent, aftermath of its fury. Leading metal magazine LEGACY made this bad boy its number one choice, giving it 15/15 points:
"Most likely the CD of the year, as the competition does not even come close, not even close!!!!" - Volkmar Weber for Legacy
"Honestly, we never thought an album like Domus Mundi could be easily surpassed. How wrong we were! Mastermind Martin Schirenc has outdone himself again and presented us with one of the most convincing Metal discs of this young millennium. It is just plain perfect. Majestic choirs, marvelous melody lines, and orchestral passages are arranged predominantly as fast metal songs that leave bands like Therion lying in the dust. Each of the eight tracks is an ode within itself, striking down the listener with a fatal blow. The album's threatening, dark atmosphere makes it difficult to stay away, and the brilliant, clear production guarantees an additional goosebump factor. The fact that it is also a well thought out concept album becomes almost secondary. Not one shortcoming to be heard in this metallic sound experience and thus, my last words: 'pure genius'. An absolute must-buy! " - Bruder Cle for RockHard - 04/01
With HOLLENTHON's triumphant return in 2008, the release of their long overdue follow-up to the highly acclaimed With Vilest of Worms to Dwell, and the upcoming festival season, fans of Martin Schirenc and Co. have a lot to look forward to in the months ahead. If you haven't done so yet, be sure to secure your copy of Opus Magnum, which is available as a limited edition digipack including bonus track and their first videoclip to "Son of Perdition" (view it now on YouTube or on our site) and as a regular jewel case edition.