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Hortus Animae - Biography




Hortus Animae was formed in 1997 by Martyr Lucifer (lead and backing vocals / bass), Thomas (drums), Hypnos (guitars) and Bless (keyboards), as the original line-up, uniting with the aim of creating something that brought forward their passion for extreme metal, but contemporarily molding it with their other musical inspirations and passions. The result started to take form almost immediately.

Hortus Animae's sound can be often described as a melting pot, proposing a true and instinctive blend of black metal, 70s prog rock, gothic and finally arriving at new forms of extreme and modern art. Not much passed before the band recorded their first demo-tape An Abode for Spirit and Flesh, which was very well reviewed by all major specialized magazines and smaller fanzines, and emphasized immediately not only a musical knowledge and culture unknown to many others, but also a true taste in lyrical and conceptual characteristics.

After exactly 2 years, the line-up went through several changes as Hortus Animae searched for the exactly right musicians. Proceeding in their artistic flare, they proceeded to compose and record their first self-produced full length album, namely The Melting Idols which circled a new essence of the band who now pushed down the accelerator and added more aggressiveness to their music, however maintaining their greatly melodic and progressive breaks. This emphasized the artistic contrast of their music even more, and gave birth to a genre very few known bands perform.

Shortly after, as second guitarist, Iarsa joined the band having played in numerous gothic and extreme metal acts and after a few supporting gigs to bands the like of Napalm Death, Konkhra, Lacuna Coil and Ancient, the band started to feel the urge to push their career forward and began writing and orchestrating the material for their biggest opus, Waltzing Mephisto, the ultimate blend of all their artistic and musical branches. It was as if Hortus Animae united all of their efforts and past experiences both musical, artistic and professional, and gave birth to their ultimate offspring. Iarsa left for personal reasons and the band continued the research for the right musicians to complete an official line-up.

Moreover drummer Thomas left Hortus Animae, due to musical divergences and, for this particular recording, the band had the chance of the availability of Diego GroM Meraviglia, drummer of the notorious Metal Blade Recs. act Ancient and the DragonHeart Recs. act DoomSword, working as a respected studio session musician and adding a great further growing point to the band's sound and impact.

After a while GroM decided that he was interested in joining the band as an official full time member and the line-up was therefore completed. Hortus Animae released their promo album "Waltzing Mephisto" and sent it to various record labels, receiving great comments and a lot of interest from many companies. A numerous amount of offers came in and finally the band chose to sign for Black Lotus Records in October 2002, preferring their offer above many others.

The Waltzing Mephisto album was released in April 2003 and it received great responses from both press and fans worldwide, including Japan and South America.

After this release a new member, Amon 418 (from the cult death metal band Baratro), joined Hortus Animae and the band started to work on a Dead Can Dance cover version entitled Windfall introducing Summoning Of The Muse in cooperation with Liv Kristine Espenæs Krull, ex Theatre Of Tragedy and current Atrocity / Leaves' Eyes singer. This cover version is featured in a tribute album (released by Black Lotus Records) that also includes artists like Nightfall, Ulver, Antimatter, Monumentum, Trail Of Tears, Ataraxia, The Gathering and Anathema.

The year 2004 sees Hortus Animae involved in different side-projects, like the death metal band Opposite Sides featuring Martyr Lucifer, Hypnos and Amon and the black metal band Hate Profile, Amon 418's one-man-band (with the collaboration of GroM on drums). The band also started to arrange the material for their second official release.

In May 2005, Hortus Animae sign for 'Sleaszy Rider Records' for their album The Blow Of Furious Winds, Hortus Animae's well awaited sequel to their debut release which shows a progression and evolution that emphasizes the band's desire and character to explore further beyond the border line of musical clichés. Not only has Hortus Animae evolved technically, but they have further highlighted their compositional and experimental capabilities, releasing an album that encompasses not only all forms of Metal genres and sub-genres, but dwells into the depths of music in general as a universal concept, incorporating styles, influences and sounds that are common to artists producing genres of music well outside the metal boundaries. Indeed living up to their name, "the garden of the soul". The Blow Of Furious Winds will sound like an encyclopedia of music itself, without any presumption, clearly as an evidence of Hortus Animae's artistic and technical potential and leaving the listener with an anxious sense of what's to come and what is still to be seen, from a band that since its debut, has not failed to positively surprise and entertain.

Between 2005 and 2008 side-projects and collaborations have been developed: Hate Profile, Opposite Sides, Space Mirrors. The group disbanded on January 18, 2006.

With the coming of the year 2008 the band celebrates 10 years since the recording of their 1st demo-tape "An Abode for Spirit and Flesh" and the limited edition boxset "FUNERAL NATION / 10 YEARS OF HORTUS ANIMAE" is released and becomes sold out in just a few months.

In 2010/2011 Bless and Grom participate to the making of Martyr Lucifer's solo album, "Farewell to Graveland", that gets worldwide released by Buil2Kill Records in November 2011.

In 2012, considering the ever lively interest in the Hortus Animae releases and the unavailability of the boxset, the band releases via Thrash Corner Records a special reissue album titled "Funeral Nation MMXII" and on January 25th 2013 they announce their reunion which will be followed by a new album after 8 years of inactivity: "Secular Music", that will be out on March 24, 2014 on Flicknife Records. THE HORTUS ANIMAE CULT IS BACK.