Friday, August 10, 2012

Horseback: Halfblood

Chapell Hill based Horseback is not a one trick pony. Primarilly the one man show of Jenks Miller, there is an expansive arsenal of sounds being used to construct this unique piece of art. Four of the seven songs are by and large instrumental droning landscapes dwelling in the same neightborhood as This Will Destroy, though incorporating a harsher grim texture of a crime scene created by NON with the finger prints of Black metal's tendrils of influence all over this body of ambient drone.

When actual songs are formed, the clean blues jangle of the guitar creates an organic element set against a collision of Current 93 melting into the wall of an acid trip with memeber of Earth. The duplicitous nature of harsh noise and Americana that makes this the most captivating listen. A song like "Inheirtance" that is more drone that not is unlikely to graduate onto my i-Pod but a song like "Arjuna" really speaks to me. The three other songs with their primary use of harsh vocals works to blend counter balance, some of the most creatively brillant guitar sounds I 've heard in some time. It refrains from taking the easy way of the lowest common denominator reliance on distortion metal can often hide behind. In fact the vocals are often the only actual "metal" elment on this album.

For practical on the go listening there are a few conscise songs would fit into the shuffle mode of most opened minded rockers who lean towards the experimental.
This is the projects 3rd release and the trio of songs on "Half-blood show a move away from some of the more noisy Sonic Youth moments. The 2011 release "Gorgon Tongue" is a collection of sonic noisescapes, but 2010's "The Invisible Mountain" is more song focused and darker not unlike Leviathan's more recent work. The growth evident on "Half Blood" is it exudes a sense of innovation in sound and identity, the heavier "Invisible Moutain" doesn't have. While the 2010 release is an entertaining listen, new ground is not broken in the same way

If I was only going to focus on what I consider to be songs and not soundscapes , then this album would be a 3 song e.p is a 10. To listen to as one complete work you findyourself lost in the drone, which is the goal of that sort of thing, so you might consider that to be a success.But to score this album as whole I would have to give it a six, as the strides it hits are dead on but they could stand to take a page from the play book of Swans and have a more balanced pay off for the listener when it comes to the more obtuse sections.

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