HORSE the Band - R. Borlax (Cover Artwork)

HORSE the Band

R. Borlax (2003)


Josh Marsh


Anyone who is deep, deep into the hardcore/metalcore scene, and has been for a while, knows it can take a whole hell of a lot to produce an album that will literally make people stutter a "Wow" in disbelief as soon as the album has finished.

Horse: the Band has done the impossible, by these standards.

It's hard to tell someone what Horse: the Band sounds like. I guess the best example I can give would be to grab Alexisonfire, Daughters!, Fordirelifesake, and Converge, throw all the members of these bands into a blender, throw in a small splash of Tenacious D. for comedic content, and there's Horse: the Band.

The majority of this 10-song full-length consists of the average 3-4 minute hardcore/metalcore pieces with your typical spoken/screamed vocals, some INTENSE double bass on the drums, (Check out "Bunnies" for an example.) some awesome, melodic guitar riffs, (Reminiscent of Alexisonfire, check out "Big Blue Violence.") and, last, but certainly not least, some amazing keyboard parts.

That's right, keyboard.

Horse: the Band has managed to work a keyboard into their 5-man lineup, accompanying the typical hardcore/metalcore lineup of drums/guitar/bass/vocals. The keyboard tunes can be absolutely hypnotizing, especially in songs like "Seven Tentacles and Eight Flames," "Cutsman," and "Bunnies." In some of the songs, the keyboard is purely used to screech out high-pitched tones, reminiscent of a guitar screech, while at other times, midi sounds are used to play mesmerizing melodies that will have you whistling along.

It's weird though. Some of the songs will start off in an absolutely brutal manner, reminiscent of Daughters!, and work into a more melodic mood, with a more discernable tune and beat. Strangely enough, this combination works amazingly well for the entire record.

The one thing people have a hard time understand would be the lyrics on this full-length. While a few of the songs are obviously written with video games in reference, it is quite easy to attach emotions or personal experience to these lyrics, giving them much more substance and meaning for the listener.

It's hard to say much more about the band without immediately shutting off my computer to listen to the CD, so I'll just stop while I'm ahead.