Posts Tagged ‘On The Eclipse’

Horseback – On The Eclipse

Posted: August 5, 2012 by Fredrik Schjerve in Reviews
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Horseback divides opinions. In the metal world, we have got a habit to take non-metal groups in our hands, and give them shelter. Bands like Swans, Tenhi and Horseback have always been reviewed in metal fanzines, despite the fact that they aren’t metal at all, and that is why the bigger part of the heavy-audience are stone-cold sceptics when it comes to a release by one of such bands (Swans may differ from the other two because of the heaviness of their industrial-infused noisepunk).

But I have long since discovered that the bands create wonderful music, despite the fact that they are not metal. Metal is really not the only well of quality these days, so if you just block out the thoughts regarding the lack of metalness, you might just enjoy something entirely new. Horseback have already released a record earlier this year, called “Half Blood”, that contained a couple of great songs, and some lesser ones too. The problem with Horseback has always been that, despite the ambient track’s swell of atmosphere and beauty, they ultimately achieve to bore you instead of entrancing you and winning you over. On The Eclipse, a vinyl-only release consisting of two songs, is wholesome a brother-release to “Half Blood”, with the sound and style being identical to the latter.

The first track, “On The Eclipse” is a track written in the style of the really great tracks on Half Blood. Minimalist chords and melodies overlap each other atop a simple beat, while black shrieks linger in the background, gargled up from the throat of multi-instrumentalist, Jenks Miller. The combo of said elements often create a distressful atmosphere, at the same time being quite smooth and relaxed. Jenk’s croaky howls drawing a thread to the weather-weary vocals of Enslaved’s Grutle Kjellson, adding the mentioned distress to the track’s blueprint. The track switch between two layered parts, before crossing into a stripped down groove accompanied by a simple guitar solo. It’s a fine song, but it doesn’t achieve the same quality of the greater tracks on this year’s other full-length by the artist.

On the b-side sits the ambient track, “Broken Orb”. It is by the ambient tracks a Horseback release succeeds or fail, as Half Blood unfortunately proved to be a grating CD due to its three ambient-tracks. But as “Broken Orb”s calm of ethereal notes enter, the hopes are high for a turn of events. The track drones along by a light pace, trying to hypnotize its listener by keeping the key elements the same throughout, only changing up the key-section once in a while. The mood flows nicely enough for a while, but then a strange surge of patternless drumbeat enters, breaking the flow. It is no big deal, but it is still not apparent what the drums were supposed to add to the song.

Even though there is not much wrong about the record, I get the feeling that the songs were cut off Half Blood because they weren’t of equal quality to the songs already featuring on the album. The soundscape and atmosphere is appealing enough by itself, but this is not something game-changing, or even great. The Horseback unit will continue to divide opinions, fans of the artist will enjoy this immensely, and anti-fanboys will find nothing to change their mind on this release. But it is worth a couple of spins if you are interested, and it is worth another go whenever Miller returns with his next voyage.

Recommended tracks: On The Eclipse, Broken Orb (there is just two songs for christ’s sake)

6.5/ 10.0

Fredrik Schjerve

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