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Old 11-08-2009, 03:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 3
Default HORSE The Band: Desperate Living – Album Review

As someone who grovels in the presence of keyboard-heavy prog-rock, like Emerson, Lake and Palmer, I have spent many days and nights searching for a band that can utilize a synthesizer “properly” in the context of Extreme Metal music. There are plenty of bands out there that seem to think crappy piano arpeggios somehow equate into some kind of epic or historical beauty which can be used as sprinkles over their already inane soundscapes, but what I’m looking for is a true integration of keyboard sounds as an integral addition that enhances the music. HORSE The Band has come as close as any in bringing my search to an end.

HORSE The Band: Desperate Living – Album Review-2207858.jpg

Their recent release, Desperate Living, confirms HORSE’s affinity for innovative use of the synthesizer in creating an undeniably unique sound. Though the self inflicted genre-label “nintendocore” may harm their serious tone, first-time listeners will be impressed with their ability to remain true to their musical aesthetic.

If I had to sum up 3 reasons why I listen to HORSE, they would be:

1. unpredictability
2. variety
3. authentic energy

All of the songs on this album are epic, self-contained smatterings of complex, engaging, and aggressive metal. Within each of the 12 tracks on this album, there is so much variety it’s actually a little hard to get your head around. To give you an idea of how complex their music can be, I did a little bit of a structural analysis of the song “Big Business:”

* A. Synth melody with “Big Business” whispers
* B. Powerful instrumental with synth
* C. Voice with rhythm guitar
* D. Drum + guitar rhythmic section
* E. Voice + Guitar
o a. Synth enters
* F. Guitar Explosion!
* C. Same as previous “C”
* G. “Mexico City!” tribute?
* H. Breakdown + sing-along
* A’. Reminiscent of “Big Business” whispers
* J. High pitched guitar wails with voice
* K. Synth rhythm change
* L. Outro

WTF is all I can say to that. There is only one instance of a repeated section in the whole song. “Well, it just seems like they smash all of these random musical ideas together, right?” Maybe, but who really cares?!

The 3rd track, “The Failure of All Things,” is probably the greatest integration/use of keyboards in the whole album, while songs like “HORSE the song” and the divine closer, “Arrive,” make you want to jump up and down and sing along, reminding you in the first place why you love music.

In the interest of being fair, I have to point out the fact that there are few low points on this record, and “Science Police” in my opinion, is one of them. It sticks out as one of the less innovative and interesting conglomerations on the album. While the song itself contains a few different styles, its similarity to Marilyn Manson’s “Beautiful People” is somewhat unappealing.

Desperate Living is an album that you NEED to pick up. If you are not used to experimental or mathcore bands, it might take a few listens to really get into it (or not-you may jump right in and love it). Overall, HORSE The Band has managed to develop a whole new style of metal and one that should not be overlooked.

Top Tracks: The Failure Of All Things, HORSE the song, Arrive

Also, check out “Custman” from their album R. Borlax and “Birdo” from their album The Mechanical Hand
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