Review Summary: A groundbreaking album that blends numerous styles of music into one delectable meal, creating a new scientific discovery that our stomachs are not the only organs in our body that need a balanced diet.
To some, the thought of, let’s say, blending King Crimson with Dissection in a single record may sound, well, disgusting. Some may argue that genre lines, or guidelines, are meant to be there for good reason. Some may explicitly want to engage in a certain style of music based on their mood or mental needs during those moments. While this is understandable, does it portray the furtherance of musical endeavors? What happens when you’ve heard every genre reach its maximum potential, then what? Well, this one man project, Trvth, is here to smash boundaries and introduce new ideas into the market [free music in this case] of eclectic fusions. So what’s unique about Trvth, being that there are a few acts out there that are developing these eclectic styles? Well, the use of spoken word cinematic dialogue, dynamic interchangeable shifts and build ups, doom metal, black metal, death metal, progressive rock, post rock, synths, flutes, piano interludes, rain-storm effects, swaying water effects, clean vocals, harmonies, and death Chuck Schuldiner-like vocals do; just to name few.
One thing that is interesting about all these elemental musical ideas is the fluidity of them. I’ve heard various bands jump from thought to thought so quickly it makes their albums abrasive, which may have been what they were shooting for. But what’s cool about someone who can play different styles if their music isn’t accessible? With this being said, there is a clear distinction between the styles that Trvth brings vs. its contemporaries. Sole member, Michael Smith, understands the need to allow feelings and emotions to play out, which partially attests to the lengthy nature of the tracks contained herein. The fluidity of Black Horse Plague
can be found on how each track blends into each other and you won’t always find more than one type of genre at any given time on any given track. For instance, “Prospect” begins with a mellow mood which seamlessly fuses into post-rock with soaring clean melodies that build off mellow vocals. These mentioned moments take up the first half of this 11 minute track where then they are perfectly bridged with a voice skit about a person talking about how flawed our governmental system is with the false presumptions of happiness, into a black metal sequence that riffs of tremolos and a blackened production style that fits the music and melodies perfectly. “Prospect” then fades out into a droning single note synth before the next track, “Red Sky in the Morning”, which happens to be one of my favorites, jumps in with a warranted-abrupt-aggressive nature which contains some of the most exciting compositions in Black Horse Plague
. This track manages to blend thrash and melodic black metal so perfectly you could easily forgot that the two separate genres even exist. This track finishes very strong and the closing climax of it is the best part when Mike screams “beast of the land, soul creature, you can’t have one without the other, store your sustenance, the prospect adhered”; those words are backed up by some of the most flavorful-dense emotive melodies I’ve ever heard.
It’s not hard to discern that the first 4 tracks off Black Horse Plague
are mostly progressive metal and post-rock while the last 3 tracks are mainly progressive rock. This separation is quite refreshing as each preceding track aims to hit the highest possible emotional points. So, to have another similar track jump in with the hopes of outplaying its predecessor might seem a little pretentious but Smith makes appropriate use of the transitional track, “What’s Left but my Promise”. At this point new elements are introduced onto the palate such as flutes, a more present bass guitar, and only clean vocals from here on out. If changing the production style half way through isn’t daring enough for you try switching from studio quality drum loops to doing the drums entirely on your own. Is there really anything Michael Smith can’t do? The fact that he’s a multi-talented multi-instrumentalist doing everything entirely on his own is mind boggling in itself but what is more interesting is that he doesn’t allow his skills in any one particular area to over shine the others. It’s as if he’s being respectful to himself, if that makes sense.
As far as conceptual natures blending into the music, Black Horse Plague
, according to the lyrics, seems to be about this figurative dent in this pan which could easily be interpreted as a dent in any given person’s life, as if there is something they can’t control but are strongly trying to work around it. For instance, the final track with lyrics contained within is “Proceed” which contains discernible expressions such as “it is not coincidental that I would come across my brother, but even to him, yielding is a must”, “opposition will come against, but I’m standing by this assurance”, and “dealing with my weakness of flesh, mark me with this dent in my pan”. These words seem to reflect an individual who is battling with things he can’t control but at the same time is making attempts to work around these obstacles with hopes that something good can come out of it. And of course I can’t skip the mentioning of the heartwarming solo that proceeds these ending words as I immediately get an Andrew Latimer of Camel feel to the staccato lead techniques and the pitch harmonics are only an added bonus which are quite hard to pull off without proper technique.
The level of musical density is apparent throughout BHP
but especially in the 19 minute instrumental closer “Assessment Denunciation and Eradication”. This progressive rock track takes the listener through a journey of groovy licks, progressive build ups, and drops only to eventually allude to an ending that brings the earlier feels of blackened distorted riffs back into the conquest. The mood seems to gradually switch as a minimalistic harmonizing lead tends to drain out the clean guitars which reveals itself in a crescendo building fashion in an odd-timed manner. It’s as if the progressive rock moments are the light at the end of the tunnel from a blackened beginning when BHP
births itself and when the dismay is returned again the listener can’t help but feel a sense of despair when the record finally ends; as if reality finally sinks in with the scope of the matter at hand.
Black Horse Plague
has all the workings of a classic album such as memorable moments, perfect song-writing, well fitting production which interchanges as the musical passages do, and elements of musical furtherance that’s never been done before. It’s clear that the Trvth project is not conforming to musical stale standards, rather, it’s attempting to breach exactly what’s making music so stagnant in the first place, which is a lack of cohesive exploration. Who knows what the Trvth project will bring next but let’s hope that Mike Smith is making use of Bruce Lee’s inspiring words which is to make your movements “formless like water”.