Review Summary: Although struck with tragedy Early Graves rise from the ashes to create a solid and more diverse record.
If you've followed this band throughout the last few years then you know of the sad and early passing of frontman Makh Daniels in a van accident on the bands 2010 tour traveling from Oregon to Nevada to promote their previous LP Goner. The death of a fellow band member can affect said band by resulting two of the following outcomes; the first being the band sees no future without the deceased member or the second being that they continue to trudge on without them and add a new member and this can two ways as well with the band either making a triumphant return from tragedy or fail to achieve what they had previously.With the way Early Graves has approached Red Horse it's very much safe to say they have definitely made a strong comeback while not so much as being triumphant more as being solid through in and throughout.with a clearer sense of song writing and structure and the new addition of vocalist John Strachan (of The Funeral Pyre) Early Graves puts more variety on this album without straying too far from the beaten path and not being so much of a dirge as previous EG albums have been.
Although this album is not nearly as intense as Goner was it does tread a nice line of being fierce while also making Red Horse's songs more distinguishable between each other with the addition of really nice leads throughout like on the opening of the song "Days Grow Cold" or the rapid sounding riff of "Misery" it's obvious there is a lot more attention to detail on this LP while not changing too much of the band's style.With more variety being put into Red Horse this has also allowed for other members of the band to really stick out a lot more then on previous albums.Now that's not to say that they never really shined its just the intensity was much of the forefront of the previous two LPs that it didn't allow one instrument to really stick out besides the guitars.The drums are much more prominent on this album especially on the track "Death Obsessed" where it opens with the drums just pounding to a hard hitting beat until all the other instruments kick in and the song itself is one of the more slower ones on this album.Where everything comes together the best on here is the final song "Quietus" where it starts off in normal Early Graves fashion until everything slows down a bit and continues to play a somewhat sorrow filled melody until everything just explodes and slowly ends into silence.
The vocals on this album are probably going to be the major turn off for most people who are familiar with Early Graves previous work.Though not as brutal and ferocious as Makh Daniels vocals were, John's vocals are still fierce as ever and really provide a nice addition to the music thats being played along side them with the help of Matt O'Brien providing vocal contributions as well giving a more diverse vocal delivery.Although his vocals aren't the most original in the world his contributions fit in very nicely within the band does do Makh's vocals justice.
Though not as in your face and pummeling as the last two records Red Horse finds a nice solid middle ground without losing too much of what Early Graves are as a band. Even though the band suffered a tremendous loss of vocalist Makh Daniels they still come out of it on top showing much more diversity and maturity throughout these eight tracks and with the addition of a new vocalist seem to pick up and progress from where they left off.