A new contender in the black metal community has emerged from the depths of hell named Horse Drawn. When this was given to me, I was quite excited as I was on night shift. Listening and taking notes on this demo sampler was gonna carry me the rest of the night and boy was I in for a treat.
Horse Drawn have recently dropped their sampler Nonbeliever in preparation for their upcoming album. The band is a 2 man recording project based out of Ohio and New Jersey. While the band may not be anything new within the confines of the black metal genre, I’ve always said if you’re going to do something you might as well do it right or go home…..and Horse Drawn does it good, damn good as a matter of fact. The production on this release is very lo-fi and raw, which only enhances the gritty nature of these tracks. The songs are twisted and dark with the cymbals high in the mix and guitars churning out fast picked and strummed power chords. It’s almost a cliche, but I can’t help but feel like I’m in the middle of the woods running through an eerie fog as the Grim Reaper himself is after me. It’s dark, claustrophobic, and unsettling. Another thing that caught my ear was the vocals. The vocals are a smidge above a mid-range roar and are blood curdling and demented to say the least. The vocals stick to the same pitch for almost the whole release, but I can’t help but gush over them given the power and emotion behind this guy’s voice.
The two tracks featured on the sampler are fairly similar and cut from the same cloth, but different enough in their aural assault to differentiate them. “Cursed” opens up like a freight train and hits in all the right places. Dark and dirty riffs hit the listener fast and hard and the vocals shriek and howl as though the singer’s soul was being sucked out of him during the recording this track. Next track “Early Graves” continues with a similar vibe, but really suck you in with the dark atmosphere the band are going for. Where “Cursed” bursts through the door like an axe wielding psychopath, “Early Graves” hangs in the air like a poltergeist while you lay in bed with sleep paralysis. Featuring a droned out, dissonant riff that carries much of the song, the vocals come in with even more of an agonized vigor than before, further cementing the band’s knack for evil and vindictive songwriting.
Horse Drawn’s Nonbeliever is a very good introduction to this new project. Simplistic in nature, but dark and cunning in their craft as far as dynamic and approach; the band have a seriously solid sound to pave the way for their future. Be sure to check these guys out if sinister and atmospheric black metal is your thing….I expect these guys to stick around for awhile and help raise the bar.