History & BiographyThe gothic act was formed in 1996 in Rimini, Italy and featured members like guitarist LB and drummer Thomas. Hortus Animae (Latin for 'Garden Of Souls') had a demo entitled An Abode For Spirit And Flesh in 1998 and one called The Melting Idols in 2000. The membership on the debut full-length featured Ancient drummer Grom. After the album a new member, Amon 418 from the band Baratro, joined Hortus Animae. Later on the core members also resurrected a death metal side project called Opposite Sides and also appeared on a compilation with a Dead Can Dance song. The band had played with Napalm Death and Lacuna Coil, among others, by this point.
The band recorded an album called The Blow Of Furious Winds in late 2004 at The Outer Sound Studio. New Greek label, Sleaszy Rider Records announced September 12th as the release date for the new album.
The group disbanded on 18th January 2006, yet Funeral Nation MMXII was a 2012 compilation. The reformation came in 2013. Another compilation was 2014’s Godless Years, which featured rare tracks, live tracks and cover versions. MG Desmadre joined in 2014 and made the band dual-guitar. More cover versions came on 2016’s There's No Sanctuary EP, which again featured Liv Kristine (Theatre of Tragedy, Leaves’ Eyes and Cradle of Filth). The band toured Eastern Europe with Necronomicon and recorded the final date. This became Piove Sangue - Live In Banská Bystrica. Due to Grom living in the USA and the distance, the band began collaborating with drummer Jotunn (from the band Outer). Waltzing Mephisto's 20th anniversary edition was available as a double CD in 2023, which included bonus tracks and an unreleased bonus live disc. The act was working on a new album.
HORTUS ANIMAE - WALTZING MEPHISTO - BLACK LOTUS
Hortus Animae is a teetering foray into the domain of the spineless. That being the land inhabited by third-rate bands claiming to be metal, when in fact the band has adopted elements of the art form for its goth rock music. So, is the band Finnish? Close. The four Italians have borrowed the top hat from Cradle Of Filth and Dimmu Borgir, the mask from zorro and posed with a violin, piano and fiddle - and for good measure sat a female model in the photograph as well!
The band might pay tribute to Death's Chuck Schuldiner and claim a black metal existence, but the band's delivery is an amalgam of goth, pop, electronica and fair grounds music. Imagine a mixture of Cradle Of Filth, Satyricon and Solefald all drenched in extra loads of feeble instrumentation. At that point, the band's trendy image is just the icing on the vomit heap. The erstwhile-demo features drummer Grom of Ancient. Indeed the individual band members can play their respective instruments, but the fact is that the goth rockers do not have a song of which to speak. In fact, the proceedings sound like a collection of individual solos, bass rhythms, keyboards, screams, etc. assembled onto one disc by the sole grace of the sound engineer. Not that it matters really. Hortus Animae is unlikely to be of interest to anyone reading a review on a heavy metal web site. - Ali "The Metallian"