Review Summary: Reminded me of why I love slow, downtuned metal
In a way, obscure music makes me feel a bit smug. It makes me feel like I'm the only one on earth who knows about this band, and it makes the music feel very personal. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not such a sludge whore that I'll listen to any vomit and call it gold, but there's a certain charm about these sludge/doom bands that pop up out of everywhere, you know? It's like imagining fat teenagers sitting on their amplifiers with fuzz pedals hooked up to their drop C# (ghasp) tuned guitars pounding Burial At Sea/Black Sabbath/Sleep worship powerchords and rasping stupid *** about monkeys or bongs or tusks or whatnot. Most of these guys don't have any business making sludge or any sort of music. I can't count on both hands how many ***ty sludge/doom cassettes I've found at the record store for .50$ that were worth less than the money I dropped on them. But it's comely, in a way, crushing doom riffs coming from unheard-of bands trying to prove the next Acid Bath or whatever. After all, I know that most of these bands aren't ever going to sell many more tapes beyond the one I just picked up, but it's a genre I adore, and it's interesting to see what mediocre musicians can do with what good sludge bands have released.
But you see, that's just it. Electric Horsemen aren't
mediocre musicians. They aren't fat teenagers who don't know Big Muff from BOSS OD-whatever. These guys pop off better sludge in 25 some-odd minutes than the Melvins have in 30 years of farting around. They take everything good from Crowbar, everything catchy about Acid Bath and grind them together in a completely unique and very attractive way. Electric Horsemen shouldn't
be an obscure sludge band. Hell, this six-song EP should be held up next to When the Kite String Pops
. People should be commenting on this review, saying "OMG EPIC SLUUUUDGE" and Wizard should be saying that he agrees. I want this album to be hailed as everything it is. I want the metal community to realize that there are bands out there like EH who rock socks like the big boys. EH should be realized for everything they are, a remarkable and refreshing sludge band with musical remarkability that most bands of the same genre have yet to match.
And what music it is. From the first "weenooweeneeweeneeDUMDUM", Electric Horsemen are pounding into our skulls that they know what the *** they are doing. The throbbing, pulsing metal sound is the sound of a band that knows its sludge, and it knows it knows its sludge. Of course, being sludge, there isn't a shy moment on the record, but unlike 'similar' bands, these guys don't make ignorant asses of themselves when they go out on a slightly progressive limb; they write music with remarkable intellegence and coherence, which is surprising for an 'obscure sludge/doom band'.
To get to the important part, the songs are ***ing awesome. The EP has every riff you could ever ask for, from Kylesa-esque waltzes to Trouble-style "run-chun-chuns". Guitars throb and chug smoothly with a good crisp sound, and every riff is as cool as John Baizley's album art. The drums pound just like they should, playing your average low-mid tempo doop-chicks and your odd random fill. Even the bass sounds smooth and fluid. To top it all off, the singing is just what you want it to be, swapping between a full-throated rasp to a roaring holler. The vocals are even catchy in songs like 'Iron Sharpens Iron' and 'Brush Town'.
Actually, now that you mention it (heh), the last two songs are sort of melancholy. 'Farms For Food' starts with a cool 5/4 deal, the sort of thing that sounds dank without being depressing. The entire song goes on like that, actually, using your typical 'hardcore depressing' chord progressions with that gritty sludge edge. 'Iron Sharpens Iron' even borders on beautiful, opening with clean guitars playing with surprising restraint (considering what you've heard so far), and whoever the hell is wailing is doing it right, singing a grating and unintelligible, but haunting refrain.
That's not to say the album is a downer, though, in fact the first four songs are straight-up headbangers. There are even some addictive guitarmonies in songs like 'Beardsniffer' and 'Abstainer', both of which being heavy and catchy as an anvil with fishing hooks attatched to the side. A fair share of stoner is dished up with 'Bloodtaker', and it sounds absolutely grinding. 'Brush Town' is probably the one that I enjoy the most, though. There's just something really badass about call-and-answer between Baizley-hollers and corpse-lunged wails.
Chugging riffs, grating vocals, pummeling drums and stellar songwriting. Sounds pretty cool, right? Well, it is. And it's pretty damn obscure. So go and buy it. Or if you don't feel like it, download the damn thing. Yeah, there are petty whines. The snare drum is a bit too hollow. And, to be honest, the cover art is pretty tacky. But let's not put cones around the only cracks in this road, right? Just listen to it. Maybe it won't be personal and obscure, but it still kicks more ass than most other sludge ever will.
"*** THIS TOOOOOWN"
-- Electric Horsemen, 'Bloodtaker'