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Horse Drawn – Amongst Ghosts Award winner

Horse Drawn
Amongst Ghosts
by Gary Hernandez at 21 September 2020, 4:48 PM

HORSE DRAWN is a Metal band out of Ohio, US. The project was formed back in 2007 by Jonny Doyle under the moniker HORSE DRAWN DEATH MACHINE then switched to the abbreviated name around 2016. Since 2012 they’ve released one demo and three EPs. The latest EP, “Amongst Ghosts,” was issued on August 4, 2020 and is currently available for free on Bandcamp. It comprises six tracks and clocks out at around 19 minutes. And when I say “clocks out,” I mean “stops abruptly” like someone tripped over the power cord. Two of the tracks are from the “No Light” EP and the remaining four are new.

Do you remember the disclaimer on RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE albums that stated, “no samples, keyboards or synthesizers used in the making of this record"? Or many moons before that, John Mayall’s disclaimer on his 1969 live album, “The Turning Point,” that boasted “no heavy lead guitar and drums"? Well, HORSE DRAWN’s disclaimer is “no bass or synths only guitar manipulation.” If you’re taking score, I wasn’t overly impressed by John Mayall’s album and thought it could be much improved by adding exactly what it censored. Of course, I loved everything RATM laid down and certainly never mourned the absence of synths. HORSE DRAWN? This album cranks, and you never miss the bass or synth (though right in the middle of “Wasting Faith” there are synth-ish embellishments. It’s kind of like vegetarian hamburgers. If you are against meat, why try to emulate its flavor?)

In my intro, I purposely described the band only as Metal. It’s not hard to find influences from any number of subgenres in their music from Black to Sludge to Death, but the amalgamation is simply Metal. The riffs range from melodic tremolo to hardcore grinding and the drums are all programmed at turbo. Vocals are harsh and raw. There are no choirs or multi-layered harmonies. There are some gorgeous lead guitar solos and lyrically, the songs center on death, darkness, despair and a morose but enthusiastic embracing of said sentiments. So, yeah, Metal sums it up.

The album starts off strong enough then really launches with track three, “Lingering Death.” From there it’s a searing rampage until the end of the album, collecting “Early Graves,” “Old Bones,” and “Wasting Faith” as the other three standout tracks. The best feature of the album is the diverse guitar work. The musical compositions are also strong though the tracks are relatively short, averaging about three minutes each. I should also mention the stark, emotive album cover photo rendered in black and white grayscale is by Megan Doyle, who I am assuming is a relation to Jonny.

Amongst Ghosts” is a fantastic EP and at the asking price of free, no one has the excuse to pass it up. It’s been a very long time since we last heard from DRAWN HORSES. Not sure six tracks make up for the wait, but if they throw in a video some time down the road, we just might forgive them.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
  1. Cursed
  2. Bleak Existence
  3. Lingering Death
  4. Early Graves
  5. Old Bones
  6. Wasting Faith
Lineup:
Jonny Doyle – All Music and Programming
Bryce Seditz – All Vocals
Record Label: Independent
     


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Edited 23 October 2020
 

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