Another dynamic adventure through a sunlit Arcadia is what Horseburner have presented. Having been formed in 2008, from West Virginia, they released 2 EPs – Dirt City in 2009 and Strange Giant in 2013, then embarked on a tour back in 2011. Until at last, they released their debut full-length album, Dead Seeds, Barren Soil in 2016.
This year, the band signed with the label Ripple Music and has returned to the metal scene to continue the quest. Bringing with them, the official worldwide release of their second album entitled, The Thief, with 9 enlightening tracks, scheduled in August 9th 2019.
The Thief itself was the first step in this odyssey. It was a solemn, foreshadowing instrumental. It gave birth to the mood and was baptised by the first traces of guitars. Until it evolved and became A Joyless King. The drums had gifted the song a slow tempo, and it was not the vocals which could be heard singing the first time, but the guitars themselves. The sound of each section was bold and distinct. The melody they intended to produce was apparent even with the overflowing notes or the succession from which they came. It was effective enough to provoke the whipping of the head. The twin guitars sounded heavy and anxious perhaps, but there was a touch of euphoria in all this. With the striking tremolo by the outro, it reminded me of what metal was supposed to sound like.
Drowning Bird came third in a fast-paced business with guitars as its front liners. This piece emphasised on instrumentation. It was not overwhelming to the ears, quite inviting actually. And would not give the impression of being scattered about. They were thoughtfully arranged. The band’s mastery of their roles were evident. How they constantly changed and took different turns in a single song was significant. The result was the lack of monotony, which was a good point. Also, the vocal range of the singer matched the skill of the background.
The Fisherman’s Bow provided an almost acoustic-like breath. Slashes of rhythm guitar and volumes of beat described this balanced sort of metal. The band was genuinely, made of professionals who know their place well enough to manoeuvre each phrase and apply certain techniques. Solos are without flaws. The progression was intact. And if there was a presence of cruelty, why was it not hurting my ears? However, the vocal stretches and melodic scales are what represented this group so far.
As the half of the album passed, what bridged me to the other side was Seas Between. It was again, a solemn, unaccompanied intro. Consisting of bits of acoustic, in relation to the title it could be likened to a rising sun. An awakening. Almost as if it brought hope.
The mainland was Hand of Gold, Man of Stone. It was the killer piece. An abrupt genesis, rebelling straightaway to this newfound nirvana. It was when the drums took over and the rest of the noise died, only to ever revive again, which had me quite taken in this enlightenment. It was inevitable to listen to it without a hard-and-fast smile while swinging my head in the air. This was metal with quality. I would recommend this particular song for anyone who’d like to find a second rebirth where artistry and emotions are freed.
Drumrolls gave entry to The Oak. The band’s signature breaks of little riffs came pronounced. There was no moment of space. Each second was done polyphonic justice. Variations were indeed, what made their songs engaging and illuminate with life. Whether fast or slow, in unrest or in quiet, this album resonated almost as if it was inviting different genres.
Fathoms had drumwork as its scaffolding again. I was clearly, inside a full-house concert, jamming with the audience as the midnight approaches. And I find the method they do in introducing and sustaining a song very arresting. It was non-violent despite the genre. There was clarity despite the dark theme. It almost had a neo-classical tone. Piece by piece I would assume, this was carefully thought through. There was an obvious attention to detail, especially in the solos. This song just ripped to the ends of the middle world.
Before this self-exploration ended, the band bestowed upon me a last acoustic instrumental. A light encore for a bon voyage. An occasional thunder of drums and traces of tambourine. With that, the album closed.
In summary, The Thief was an era of rebirth. A nine-part collection of change. This was the sort of metal capable of bringing to life not only antagonistic emotions but also the vulnerable ones. The idea was not only to scream, but to be open and invite another age.
Review by Estefan Malgret