HORSE the band
Desperate Living


5.0
classic

Review

by dbizzles USER (4 Reviews)
December 31st, 2018 | 48 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Radio, radio... can you hear my swan song?

Based on an apparent lack of exposure and a career almost devoid of financial success, HORSE the Band, and this album in particular, are a machine misunderstood; and that's a shame. Sure, calling yourself nintendocore (and later rebuking it) and writing songs full of korg synth lines and NES soundbytes isn't going to have many people taking you seriously. And honestly, that's not an entirely bad thing, but it certainly can give reason for a quick dismissal from those not willing to give your product the time of day. But, behind the quirky facade of 8-bit bleeps and bloops, silly song titles and personas, and the ridiculous album cover (which you know rules), there lies the aptly titled Desperate Living; an inimitable post-hardcore/metalcore masterpiece drenched in self-loathing that exists as an almost obvious coping mechanism for the members of the band.

HORSE's songwriting is at an absolute peak here; exceeding A Natural Death by far, a mere two years later. We see the band hopping from blistering verses and breakdowns to dance party synth lines and back again without ever feeling jarring. Erik Engstrom's performance on keyboard easily ranks among the most impressive in metal. The band's ability to seamlessly integrate Lord Gold's remarkably distinct and wonky keys consistently throughout the album is a wonder on its own, but even more impressive is how those tones almost offset the desperate wails of Nathan. The guy is having a complete nervous breakdown with bright passages of stuttering beeps serving as a backdrop- and it works perfectly. Tracks like Golden Mummy Golden Bird and Arrive should make bands like Between the Buried and Me embarrassed for taking themselves so seriously, as blending different sounds can seemingly work so easily when you're not trying so hard to flex you genre palate. Conversely, The Failure of All Things, HORSE the Song, and Big Business give a nice nod to the HORSE faithful, while managing to put on an original core songwriting clinic to which no one is paying any attention. I'm not being hyperbolic when I say that I put Desperate Living right alongside The Always Open Mouth, Relationship of Command, The Opposite of December, or even You Fail Me. The album is that good.

Sure, silly tracks like Science Police and Lord Gold Wand of Unyielding stick out a bit among the more 'serious' songs, but that's just what HORSE do; they make the best of a bad situation by at least trying to make you smile when they know that you know that they know that life is a bitch. Even if their goofy, misunderstood nintendocore was probably never going to take them anywhere, and even if they had to book their own world tour (yeah, that really happened), or if they have to come down from this only to work crappy day jobs for the rest of their lives, at least with this album they can be proud to say they made something all their own. If you look close enough, you'll find a band worth rooting for and songs worth hearing again and again- and that's not only special, but an achievement the band should never overlook even if almost everyone else does.


user ratings (585)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • MeatSalad (5)
    1 2 3...

    Mouth (4)
    HORSE finally decide to start taking themselves seriously, even if it's only a little bit....

    dewkmosi (4)
    a contradiction...

    nebuzad0 (4.5)
    HORSE the band is to strike serious note of desperate life, but it is not evil, the band ...

  • randomguitarist (4.5)
    HORSE the Band have made their hands-down best album to date. Original, unpredictable, and...


Comments:Add a Comment 
dbizzles
December 30th 2018


12728 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

A review that no one needed about an album that came out almost 10 years ago and yeah.

Digging: Deicide - Deicide

verdant
Staff Reviewer
December 30th 2018


2356 Comments


niiiiiiiiiiiiiiice

Get Low
December 30th 2018


4059 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is an excellent review. Major props. I could never get into this band's music but I respect them all the same.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
December 30th 2018


41024 Comments


I should probably hear this, tight rev

Digging: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross - Bird Box (Abridged)

dbizzles
December 30th 2018


12728 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks, guys.

Row, I think you'd like this. Actually, come to think of it, some of the stuff they do actually reminds me of Take to the Skies and I know how you feel about ES.

Get Low
December 30th 2018


4059 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This band always reminded me a little more of Sky Eats Airplane, but they are also alike with ES.

dbizzles
December 30th 2018


12728 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I remember loving that SEA EP back in the day. The LP is probably better, but I didn't listen to it as much.

guitarded_chuck
December 30th 2018


16869 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

nice my man



legit one of my favorite albums period, and probably my most listened to cause i jam it at the gym basically every time

guitarded_chuck
December 30th 2018


16869 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"The Failure of All Things, HORSE the Song, and Big Business give a nice nod to the HORSE faithful"



for sure, prolly my 3 favorites here too, though its a very consistent album

Sinternet
December 30th 2018


18298 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

m/ good review



i think rape escape is probably my fave here but it's all so good

Digging: Illenium - Awake

SlicePaperMoog
December 30th 2018


296 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I should get back onto HORSE the Band sometime. This album and R Borlax were my favorites.

Sinternet
December 30th 2018


18298 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

man r.borlax is mad nostalgia, i literally used to jam bunnies every day walking to school

BigPleb
December 30th 2018


56529 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

New album when?

SlicePaperMoog
December 30th 2018


296 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I liked Cutsman the most in high school.





I LOVE THE POWER GLOVE

ITS SO BAD

BigPleb
December 30th 2018


56529 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Cloudwalker and Shapeshift have always been my faves on here, mainly cos I think the band is really good at melodic breaks.

dbizzles
December 30th 2018


12728 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

They are apparently good at everything lol. Hoping (likely in vein) for a 10-year tour next year.



Thanks for reading, everyone.

calmrose
December 30th 2018


4387 Comments


rating bump for this bad boy

Digging: The Chariot - Long Live

dbizzles
December 30th 2018


12728 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Bless your soul tbh

calmrose
December 30th 2018


4387 Comments


oh and excellent review dbizzles friend

dbizzles
December 31st 2018


12728 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

ty blessed calmrose. as always, good taste.



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