Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Horseback: Half Blood (2012)

The Other Half Is Kittens

Horseback is one of the most unusual-sounding bands to get regular mention in metal publications. Clearly they're not a metal band, but those raspy black metal vocals and the dark tone of the music make us the primary audience.

The band has more than one side: The mellow psychedelic rock side and the ambient/noise side. I like the former, but not the latter. Half Blood, their latest release, puts both of those sides on prominent display. True to its name, the record is bifurcated, with the cool rock up front and the ambient/drone/noise to the back. Which makes sense, because you draw people in with good music, and then they might stick around for the rest. But I have been expanding my horizons, so I held out hope that this could be the one to make the other half of Horseback click for me.

Well, it's not. I don't understand the second half of this record. It uses the same tools as the first, including lots of organ, guitar, xylophone, drums, and more, but in a very different way. It's still eminently listenable, but I wouldn't go out of my way for this stuff.

We're in luck, though, because the first half of the record is as good as I've ever heard the band. It differs from The Invisible Mountain in that the groove is simply better, and the vocals aren't quite as freaky and out of place as they were before. These songs have a smooth, mellow trance effect with plenty of bass, the perfect kind of music for a long trip. The first two songs alone are worth the price, because they're the kind of song you could listen to again and again.

The Verdict: 3.5 out of 5

Horseback has only improved this time around, but I still don't understand the garbage they tack onto the end.

Buy Half Blood

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