Thunder Horse, Chosen One (Ripple Music 2021)

Following up on the tectonic power of their self-titled debut, the new album from Thunder Horse is both crushing and uplifting, in a planetary resurfacing kind of way.

Stephen Bishop, Todd Connally, Uncle Dave, and Jason West are channeling the spiritual sources of the sound on this album, bringing the elementals to bear. This music is doom metal with a lot of lead guitar work and call-ins from classics in the form as well as Southern rock roots. The combination is fascinating and unique but it is the execution the moves the needle into the red. I hope this band is around forever.

“Let Them Bleed” opens with a single guitar hammering a slow, powerful riff. The guitar solo past the middle could be in song like “Comfortably Numb” as easily as it is here in this doom-laden smasher. “Among The Dead” appropriately slows the pace a bit and wiggles in the sinister. I expected then a charging rampage in the next song, “Rise of the Heathens,” and instead heard a dramatic presentation and an orderly push of the heavy front. There is a charge in there toward the end and the rampage is the ripping solo guitar.

The title track has a very heavy Black Sabbath vibe and delivery, all to the good. It is a stand-out track for me, and so is the rumbling “Halfway To Hell.” “Texas” is a surprise in its quietude and melancholy, and the short piece “Remembrance” is ethereal and transitory, bringing up Southern rock memories. The capper is a cover of “Dear Mr. Fantasy” and now I will never hear that song the same way again. There is also an extended version of “Texas” right at the end. This album is one you are going to listen to over and over. Highly recommended.

The vinyl has been selling fast, reports say, so it might already be too late. There is always a download, and maybe a CD, though. Have a look at Bandcamp or wherever you like to plunk down your money because Chosen One is out now.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/chosen-one

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/ThunderHorseOfficial/

Website, http://www.thunderhorseofficial.com/

Thunder Horse, Chosen One (Ripple Music 2021)

The Electric Mud, Burn The Ships review (Small Stone Records 2020)

Florida Heavy Blues instigators The Electric Mud return with more high voltage swamp metal on Burn The Ships.

The debut album of The Electric Mud came out two years ago, Bull Gator. It is bluesy, guitar-driven Southern stoner rock. Listening to it does bring up thoughts of that first Molly Hatchet album, but The Electric Mud is heavier and presses the lurking power of their music harder. The title track tells us “I’m the mighty jaws of an ancient god,” and a little later in the same song, “I’m the crooked old hand of death itself.” The songs are smooth and muscular. A very impressive debut.

The band is Constantine Grim (guitar), Pierson Whicker (drums), Peter Kolter (vocals and guitar), and Tommy Scott (bass). All four are from Florida, and have an abiding respect for the rock music tradition from the South (Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the like) as well as the classic metal roots of icons like the origin band, Black Sabbath. Their music is not a simple combination of latent elements of famous bands, however. They have taken their influences and inspirations and melded them with their abilities and art to fashion a lasting instrument of collective resonance.

The new album cranks up the speed and depth a notch, creating an even bigger wake than the earlier release. “The First Murder On Mars” is the opener (and the single you can hear now). It starts the set out fast and sharp, with stabbing guitars and crisp drumming. “Stone Hands” switches to a heavier hammer, and “Reptile” swings them both at the same time. “A Greater Evil” is a the cool evening breeze that blows through your open car window  and then darkens as the sun goes down. The triplet of “Call The Judge,” “Priestess,” and “Good Monster” is thirteen minutes of trouncing bliss – it takes you away from whatever was in your head before. I keep hitting these three over and over. “Ledbelly” is an amazing display of percussion, and “Terrestrial Birds” starts out as a lullaby until the guitar starts singing the blues and telling you a story that won’t let you sleep. This in an incredible album that will reach across to a wide array of heavy music fans. Highly recommended.

Burn The Ships CDs, vinyl, and downloads are available from Small Stone Records through Bandcamp (and elsewhere) beginning this Friday, September 25. You know how it works: the download is there forever but the hardcopies can go fast, especially the vinyl. Listen to Bull Gator on Spotify now. If you like it, consider a preorder if you want some of that orange vinyl.

Links.

http://www.theelectricmud.com

https://theelectricmud1.bandcamp.com/releases

http://www.facebook.com/TheElectricMud

http://www.smallstone.com

http://www.facebook.com/smallstonerecords

https://smallstone.bandcamp.com/album/burn-the-ships

The Electric Mud, Burn The Ships review (Small Stone Records 2020)

Merlock, that which speaks … review (2020)

Merlock unleashes an intense labyrinth of ruin and decay with the epic EP that which speaks…

This Spokane, Washington foursome released a three-song demo in 2018 that had great, traditional sounding metal reminiscent of Ritchie Blackmore in a dark mood. This new one is different, more straight ahead doom and sludge, and with even grimmer themes than the 2018 songs. The press photos of the band are tongue-in-cheek and light hearted, but the lyrics sure aren’t. How about this stanza from the leadoff song, “spit out your purple lung/they will drown you/as you learn to swim/so claw your way to the surface,” and then this, “your reality devoured/in this realm of hopelessness/disgorge your viscera/abandon your human form.” Not exactly a traditional letter home, eh?

A lonely hum and a faraway bass line eases you into “Idolon,” the first song on the album. The build is steady then steep, with heavy a bass presence throughout and hammer drop cliffs in a couple places. The vocals alternate between hoarse shrieks and melodic incantations. A wailing guitar solo closes the door near the end. “Prolapse” is next, and is more up-tempo and has a death metal tone to start, before turning Opethish then clamping down on the doom artery at the halfway point. “[vessel]” is a song where the music is the absolute perfect match to the narrative of the lyrics, “wandering through this world barren of true light/the moon eats shadows on a sun it swallows whole.” Hopelessness objectified. The last word is “Condemnation,” which seems fitting. Don’t let the peppy opening vamp fool you – the path ahead is dour in the extreme. The vocals at the beginning are a hissing reptile, and at the end, a disembodied tortured spirit. This album is an experience, and it will put you in a very particular place. I really got into this music and I can’t wait to hear what Merlock does next. Recommended.

Out now and available at Bandcamp, that which speaks… is ready for the taking. It is labeled as an EP, but with a running time of just over thirty minutes, it is as long as a lot of “full-length” albums I have bought in my day.

Links.

https://merlock.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/MerlockSpokane/

Merlock, that which speaks … review (2020)