Spanish pagan metal horde Hordak have been around for awhile. 'Padre' is already their fourth album. It's a very ambitious one too, pulling out all the stops to make this an epic piece of work. That's not only noticeable in the vast amount of instruments used but also in the guest appearances from members of Folkearth, Crystal Moors and Forefather. However, in all it's ambition, this still is a nostalgic trip into the history of this sub-genre.
Halfway through opener 'Ekleipsis – Devourer Of Gods', I'm immersed in nostalgia, raising my fist to the sheer grandeur that comes out of this track. I think about Primordial. I think about Moonspell and I think about Amorphis in their 'Tales' era. Above all that, I think 'fuck yeah'. It has been awhile since I heard something like this and I'm immediately sold. I don't think Hordak could have written a better opening track for this album.
From there, the album continues on this gloomy and mysterious path, including flutes and violin to enhance the pagan atmosphere. Yet, with these grinding guitars and resolute drums, there is plenty of headbanging goodness to be found too. You try to sit still while listening to 'Soaring' or 'Thrive'. If you succeed, you are not a pagan metal fan, period. Besides, there is some damn good guitar play to be found here too, including some awesome solos.
What this genre lacks in complexity, it makes up for in sheer grandeur and an atmosphere of victory and heroism. Hordak know that, and take that atmosphere to epic levels. Even when the intensity goes down, as on the beautiful piece 'Sol', these guys make the absolute best of it. This track is worthy of mentioning Opeth, be it in an acoustic setting. This surely is one of my favorites on this already epic album.
'A Leader In Times Of War' is another one of my favorites and probably one of the most immersive on this album. It's also the one that reminds me the most of traditional Scandinavian black metal for some reason. While the album closes with the massive title track 'Padre', I'd like to end this review by recommending this album to all pagan metal fans out there. This is pure nostalgia for some but it is definitely good enough tho stand its ground in today's blackened scene.