On a Friday morning, after a long work week of further pulverizing our broken, beat ‘n’ scarred eardrums, it behooves us motley villagers to get our mind out of the sonic gutters & seek out a bit of a palate cleanser. To this end, we offer @shadow_horse, a trio of self-described mythic rockers hailing from the wilds of Nashville, TN. More specifically, we present their latest single + resplendent music video, which premieres today over at spotify & the youtubery. We’ve been enjoying this track a helluva lot over this past week, &, seeing how it's OUT NOW, we heartily recommend you give it a watch (& a whirl).
Shadow Horse deal in modern rock of the epic variety--in comparison to your classic rocker, the underlying structure & lyrical content point toward archetypal sensibilities. Their debut album focused, conceptually, on a hero’s journey undertaken by the titular Visitor. The Choice doesn't appear to fit within a continuing storyline, but nonetheless remains within the established thematic oeuvre.
Instrumentally, there’s a similarity to Point of Know Return era Kansas. While the guitar itself feels supportive rather than technical, Lane Dudley isn’t afraid to approach the progressive bar, making bombastic use of his full register. As a result, the vocals are a little high in the mix, & some subtlety in this regard would add further dynamism to the overall sound. That said, there’s no question: this guy holds a mean note. Bass remains impressively prevalent, which, given the limited membership, certainly helps fill out the fold, especially giving an mellow (albeit song-appropriate) solo. The video itself--something we admittedly rarely deal in--is a pretty & well-shot affair. A lil’ less gritty than we’re used to, but a clean & honed aesthetic vision is evident.
All told, The Choice is A. definitely worth your while, & B. definitely worth coming back to. A solid choice, as it were.
Shadow Horse can be found:
Welcome to a special edition of Sabbath Sunday! Today, the utterance of “Sleeping Village” isn’t always an act of self-aggrandizement. Our motley township owes an obvious debt to Black Sabbath…but @sleepingvillageband, today’s group in question, also lifted their moniker from Sababth’s plunder-worthy supply of deepcuts. The Birmingham Four have left a veritable canyon in the firmament of heavy music. As such, we dedicate every Sunday to recounting the history of their own discography, or to highlighting a lesser-known band carrying the mantle of Sabbathian legacy. Today, it's a case of the latter, as we briefly review Among the Gods, Sleeping Village’s debut EP.
Sleeping Village's style is unexpectedly varied, which is to say that Among the Gods doesn’t lean on the stereotypical Sabbath sound. While the elements are there--thick ‘n’ groovy guitar & bluesy bass that follows the riff--Sleeping Village has made a well-adjusted effort to play a nuanced love letter to ye doom of olde, intelligently picking & choosing qualities from influences galore. The nonchalant vocal delivery, for example, is similar to Zeeb Parkes on Friends of Hell-era Witchfinder. The emphasis on adventurous soloing recalls early Pentagram. The somber momentum on the (particularly rockin’) Lucky 7’s recalls the drive of Saint Vitus’ Clear Windowpane. I could go on, but here’s the bottom line: if you like doom that absolutely oozes that sweet retro sound, I have little doubt Sleeping Village will let you down. In this sense, Sleeping Village truly lives Among the Gods.
The four tracks presented here feel very distinct, & thus, its frankly difficult to select a favorite. Ultimately, the title track feels like it illustrates the band’s strengths most effectively. A sneering chorus, backed by the fuzziest guitar tone money can buy, builds towards a galaxy-spanning solo--all the makings of a great tune.
Highly recommended. From one Sleeping Village to another: keep it up. We’re quite excited to hear what comes next!
Sleeping Village can be found:
A tad tardy for a review, perhaps, but as a late-in-the-year discovery, The Necromancers’ self-titled debut is worth the mention. But first: some poetic waxing.
Victims of hypothermia encounter a stage immediately before death where nerve damage makes them feel paradoxically warm--so warm that they remove clothing & allow themselves to succumb to the inevitable. At risk of sounding melodramatic, such is the comfort one finds in the gloomy embrace of doom’s inhospitable atmosphere. Despite the down-tuned drone, the lyrics evoking despair, & the general pea-soup atmosphere, doom lends a warm-and-cuddly feeling that other genres under the umbrella of ‘extreme metal’ typically lack. In Servant’s of the Salem Girl’s best moments (of which there are many), The Necromancers offer this full embrace.
This album makes a distinct break from the doom hallmark of pervasive fuzziness. The intro to Beyond the Black Marble House, for example, presents a freshly scrubbed guitar that elegantly rises above the low end. The bass is similarly void of filth, sounding crisp & deliberate. Drone this is not, but it still sounds irrevocably like doom. Lucifer’s Kin evokes Sabbath’s Children of the Grave, plain & simple, but with this production, it sounds anything but derivative.
Salem Girl Part I is a beast, to be sure, one of my 2017 Songs of the Year. Here, Tom Corniere-David’s ability to turn the aggression in his voice on & off with the flip of a switch is a supremely endearing quality--I find myself leaning into choruses, anticipating the moment sweetly crooned vocals become grim and mean. Side B is a small letdown compared to the brilliance of the first few tracks, with Salem Girl pt. II providing more of a one-armed hug than the real deal. Otherwise, The Necromancers' atmosphere will draw you in. Let it happen.
The Necromancers – Servants of the Salem Girl was released August 2017 from Ripple Music