A fresh batch of minimal reviews over at the Liminal. I threw some words at Corrupted, Ricardo Donoso and Horseback.
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Entries tagged as horseback
My review of the excellent new album from Jenks Miller and Nicholas Szczepanik, partly a meditation on the new ruins of America is now up at The Liminal.
I've previously reviewed two of Szczepanik's other releases (The Chiasmus and Dear Dad), and The Invisible Mountain by Jenks Miller's band Horseback.
Album: The Invisible Mountain
Label: Utech Records
A review I done for the other place. This is a great beast of a record. Yes - beast. More to come on some Utech Records stuff soon.
Impale Golden Horn which came out in 2007 – Jenks Miller’s first album as Horseback – was a huge thing of vast drones set against a gossamer curtain of distorted guitar. Despite being a limited release it was generally well received. Well, via a couple of almost-impossible-to-get CD-Rs, Miller has arrived at The Invisible Mountain – a record that (mostly) does away with the shimmer and glow of his previous work and instead throws up some sort of primeval scurf. This is something akin to deconstructed stoner rock music – deconstructed stone music: a regression into its magmatic past. If the press release is anything to go by, then Miller is on some sort of quest for individuation, the invisible mountain a metaphor for a kind of self-combat, an inward journey towards that most invisible of foes – our own neuroses.
It’s hard to speak about the sonic nature of The Invisible Mountain and not use the present tense: it creeps and seethes; it is inexorable. The constituent parts are rudimentary: Miller’s own fuzzed and gnarled guitar is augmented by Scott Endres’ which at times, as on ‘Tyrant Symmetry’, provides a bright tone which works against the sludge of Miller’s; a basic wall of rhythm is provided John Crouch, a drummer akin to Brant Bjork, all space and ride; and alongside everything, like a dry gulch, is Miller’s rasping bark, which, despite its harshness, perfectly fits the overall sound. Together the 3-piece over 3 of the 4 long tracks find a sludgey groove, lock in and aim at the middle distance.
The title track is a damn near perfect exploration of the form. It climbs from a tattered mess of overdriven bass and drums into a searing riff and for the next seven minutes works and claws at itself, drags itself onward. If the individuation metaphor has any weight then it’s at its most potent here. This has the weight of labour, of midnight toil. As a consequence, Miller’s strange snarl is at its most desperate and demonic here – coupled with the sheer pulverising force of the track it becomes part conjuration, part exorcism. It’s actually quite astonishing and one of the finest drone metal tracks I’ve heard in some time.
The last track, ‘Hatecloud Dissolving Into Nothing’ offers some respite and suggests a certain amount of closure and self-mastery on Miller’s part. Sonically, the track is a return to Impale Golden Horn with enmeshed guitars creating a fog of drones and although the guttural vocals (at their most black metal-like) are discernible, they’re obscured by the wash of treated guitars. As the track reaches a point of climax, it spirals towards a near Godspeed like sense of drama, albeit with much less bombast. It’s a dramatic, heartening close to what is hugely affecting album – one that continues to work its magic when it’s left alone and closed.
Download: Horseback - The Invisible Mountain