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Album Reviews : Drowning Horse – Drowning Horse

By on October 8, 2012

Drowning Horse - Drowning Horse (Heartless Robot)Doom metal is an extremely hard genre to pull off well.

At it’s essence, the genre is characterised by a sense of hopelessness and despair, an aesthetic often reached by use of cold, dark sonic textures, and the repetition of huge, sparse riffing.

But therein lies the challenge; repeat a riff too few times and can you lose that oppressive atmosphere. Repeat a riff too many times and you can easily degenerate into a boring parody.

It’s a fine art, but one that has been perfected in Australia by Adelaide’s Space Bong. They offer clear conviction for the nihilistic sentiment they express; and possess a knack for crafting depressive, droning epics that hold your attention for an extended period.

With the launch of their new self-titled LP, Perth’s Drowning Horse can also claim the same class of doom mastery.

This record is an incredibly bleak affair. While listening, I can’t help but feel a downward tug into a pit of misery. By the end of the first two songs (which clock in at a combined 35 minutes) I become aware of a thick, black cloud of depression seeping into my mind. A cold, metallic voice begins to whisper what I have always feared; that all life is meaningless; that all action is futile.

The production here is flawless; the guitars have a perfect balance of fuzz, warmth and coldness. The bass underscores the music with clarity and depth. The drum sound is organic and spacious. The vocals are sparse and sit back in the mix, always careful not to overplay their hand. The entire mix sounds sounds as if drenched in a rich reverb as it crackles and breaks-up with warmth.

Drowning Horse‘s self-titled LP expresses a paralysing level of negativity through use of fuzz, feedback and oscillation. This is doom metal distilled to it’s very essence; punishing, primitive and miserable; a dark onward death march of despair that is as hypnotic as it is relentless.

This is a definite short-lister for the best doom record of 2012, and an essential piece of listening fans of Sunn O))), Boris, Loss, Mournful Congregation, Corrupted, Eyehategod and Buried At Sea.

I sincerely hope these guys make it over to the east coast sometime soon. Folks around here are starting to seem a little too chirpy.

Band: Drowning Horse
Album: Drowning Horse
Year: 2012
Genre: Droning doom
Label: Heartless Robot Productions
Origin: Perth, Australia


In his spare time, Lachlan melts cephalopods and sorts raw numbers. He runs Art As Catharsis, plays guitar in Serious Beak, Adrift for Days and Battle Pope and writes philosophy at Writing As Catharsis. Follow him on tumblr or Twitter.