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HORSE The Band - A Natural Death

Discussion in 'Metal Reviews' started by Bleakest Harvest, Oct 13, 2008.

  1. Bleakest Harvest

    Bleakest Harvest \m/Misanthropic Hippy\m/

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    HORSE The Band - A Natural Death
    Koch Records - KOCCD4228 - 28 August 2008
    By Paddy Walsh

    [​IMG]

    Being both intrigued and annoyed by the 'Nintendocore' tag thrust on HORSE's shoulders, A Natural Death was approached with a degree of suspicion. A pleasant surprise it was, then, to discover that HORSE the Band are a superbly technical outfit in the vein of latter-day Dillinger Escape Plan (in want of an easy reference point). Yet in this fickle world we live in, the band does espouse its own gimmickry in the form of synths that - you guessed it - sound like they were sampled from old Nintendo and arcade games of the 80's. And sure enough, as 'Hyperborea' thunders from the starting gate, it quickly gives way to bleeps and blips of the ancient 'Donkey Kong' variety. What's more, the two pieces that close A Natural Death are MIDI versions of album tracks that end up sounding like old 'Street Fighter' stage themes.

    Now whilst the more cynical amongst you may balk at what appears to be a ploy to tap into the neuro-associative nostalgia brainwaves of young men in the 20s and 30s, that assertion would be more valid were these guys chops not up to scratch. Thankfully, a dig beneath the zany surface reveals a great stab at technical metalcore (or 'mathcore, or whatever it is we're calling it these days). Slabs of meaty riffage cascade around versatile drumming, and the vocals strike a decent balance between emotiveness and aggression - mercifully we're spared any emo crooning - always a plus. 'I Think We are Both Suffering' is a lengthy number that moves through myriad tempos and moods, including a nifty jazzy section. The fantastic 'Murder' is perhaps the best example of HORSE's penchant for video game homages, as the frantic musicianship shifts atop pervasive synths that sound like 'F-Zero' put to a metal soundtrack (which, oddly enough, is how I used to describe Children of Bodom's keyboard solos to people when I was 16). 'The Beach' is completely synth-based, meanwhile, and is reminiscent of one of those scenes from the old 'Final Fantasy' games on the SNES; the ones where the protagonists had happened upon a village in ruins because of their nemesis or something, and the music was all foreboding and sad.

    You see, it's hard not to like this if you're of a certain age/tendency towards geekiness without coming over all doe-eyed for a childhood long wasted. Thus 'Face of Bear' becomes less noted for its chugging riffs than because it sounds like a metalled-up boss encounter. A Natural Death is an enjoyable listen, although in the face of Dillinger Escape Plan it can sound a little lightweight. However, there's plenty to be gotten from Horse the Band, or at least more than might seem apparent on first listen.

    Official HORSE the Band Website
    Official HORSE the Band MySpace
    Official Koch Records Website
     
  2. Dr. Abner Mality

    Dr. Abner Mality Primary Scare Physician

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    The only thing I get from exposure to this is an extreme case of nausea followed by the drizzling shits. Some of the most unlistenable stuff I have ever heard...:puke:
     
  3. circus_brimstone

    circus_brimstone Forest: Sold Out

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    Better than their other stuff, that's for sure.
     
  4. kirbykidaj

    kirbykidaj New Metal Member

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    HORSE the band is amazing!
     
  5. metalheadmike

    metalheadmike New Metal Member

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    Best release to date. I hope they continue in this vein on future releases
     
  6. Autumnhour

    Autumnhour New Metal Member

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    Never was a huge fan of them, and still cant get into them, not a fan of the nintendocore sound
     

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