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Palehørse – Palehørse

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 03 May 2019, 6:33 AM

PALEHORSE (formerly known as AMENDFOIL) is one of the most exciting acts out of the Nordic metal scene. Followed by the vision of multitalented front man Lassi Mäki-Kala, the band is combining extreme technical skills, right-in-your-face attitude, desert-crossing roughness and multiple vocal harmonies in a way that is very hard to categorize but easy to give recognition. Numerous reviews with perfect scores for both of their self-released albums, hundreds of gigs and festival appearances are just some of the milestones along the rise of PALEHORSE. In spite of more than a decade-long comradery, the band is now excited about its reincarnation as a trio under a new name and on a new label. This is their self-titled debut album, and contains ten tracks.

“Dead Wrong” leads off the album. At first listen, it sounds like Alternative music to me, especially considering the lightly distorted guitars and the cadence of the vocals. The chorus is big and rich, and leaves a lasting impression however. “Pale Horse” opens with a dissonant main riff that stays low in the registry. The vocals are harmonized but don’t match up with the riff until the chorus. Some harsh vocals come into the mix a bit later. This is definitely some original music here, I’m just not sure if it’s for me or not, so let’s keep listening. “The Passenger” opens with clean and alluring guitars that fairly quickly give way to an animated riff that seems to dance around the room. Some Progressive elements come into play here and they let in some moments of melody as well, like sunshine rays peeking through into a darkened room.

“Darken Waters” has a more solemn tone from the start. The harmonized vocals sound almost sterile until they gain in scope in the chorus. It’s definitely the cadence of things that are giving me the biggest problem here. “Catalyst” is a really short acoustical number that doesn’t even make it to a minute in length. “Catharsis” opens with a fast moving riff and some chaos that is tempered by harmonized vocals. Sometimes harsh and other times totally clean, it’s at least an interesting approach to the music to vary them in this manner. This is a good song that you really have to try to keep up with. “Odious” opens with a raucous and aggressive riff and some great vocal harmonies. The entire song has a strong and positive vibe to it, and they let it all hang out for you to enjoy. They also show off some technical chops and that vocal cadence is loosened here.

“Less than a Ghost” opens with some real energy. The guitars take center stage here. The vocal harmonies are great—lifting over the heavy riff with melody. The ambient passage really shines here. “Omnivore” has an aggressive but melodic sound, as the vocals venture into several different areas…sometimes clean harmonies and other time blood-curdling screams. “Quicksand” closes the album with opening clean guitars thick with reverb. It’s an unconventional sound…the guitars are dissonant at times while the vocals carry on with melody. Overall, as the album continued on, I found myself liking it more and more, and appreciating the originality of their sound. It’s hard to describe…hard to pigeonhole. Alternative Metal? Maybe. Especially when considering the guitar work. But the vocals…more like Devin Townsend. Varied and unique, they lift the music off of the page with soaring harmonies and heavy harshness. You need to listen to this for its originality alone.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 10
Memorability: 8
Production: 8


4 Star Rating

1. Dead Wrong
2. Pale Horse
3. The Passenger
4. Darken Waters
5. Catalyst
6. Catharsis
7. Odious
8. Less than a Ghost
9. Omnivore
10. Quicksand
Lassi Mäki-Kala – Vocals/Guitar
Samu Honko – Drums/ Vocals
Ville Siivonen – Bass/Vocals
Record Label: Indie Recordings


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