Monday, June 18, 2012

Horse Latitudes: Awakening (2012)

Horses Are Heavy

If I remember my sixth grade history, the Horse Latitudes are parts of the ocean with little wind. The (questionable) story is that explorers of the 16th Century would be stuck on calm seas for so long that they could no longer water their horses, killing them as an act of mercy. Or the sailors would run out of provisions and resort to eating the horses or drinking their blood. Brutal.

Apparently, the band took their name from a Doors song, an unlikely source. Unlikely, because the Doors had no bass, whereas Horse Latitudes have no guitar. The Finnish band's unorthodox lineup consists of two bassists (who also handle effects) and a drummer/vocalist.

As you can imagine, it's exceptionally heavy. It's also oppressive. The long, slow crush of riffs feels like the sun is beating down on you while you're stranded at sea. Occasionally they pick up the pace. The tension mounts as you consider slaying your horse; or maybe you're out of horses, and you think about how best to slice up a fellow sailor.

The vocal style is identifiably Finnish, resembling Lord Vicar's Chritus without the upbeat parts. Their mood is one of sorrow and lament bordering on desperation. Only one vocalist is credited, but they have used layers to add extra depth and harmony in some places. They also use occasional effect of other kinds for added percussive or melodic effect, but these touches are kept to a minimum.

The Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Horse Latitudes have used their unusual lineup to put a new spin on the familiar sound of oppressive doom metal. It successfully creates a mood of paranoia, fear, and desperation, and it's satisfyingly heavy.

Doomentia Records

This review originally appeared on


  1. Great backstory to the name. I am in two minds about checking this as I am not particularly receptive to doom at the moment but I do like the idea of two bassists. Plus I like to be satisfied with heavy.

  2. If doom isn't your thing at the moment, this probably wouldn't be a good one to check out. It's very much geared toward doom-heads.