Black Horse

The Black Arts of Black Horse

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April Goettle and A.P. Schroder, the two-headed monster that drives Black Horse, create an unholy din that tips its hat to industrial noise, dissolute grindcore, clanging metal, slimy swamp blues, and minimal three-chord garage band clatter. Both are formidable guitarists, but play at a volume where distortion and the array of effects pedals they have at their feet often reduce the music into a throbbing, primal pulse of dangerous rhythms that drive everything but the groove from your mind. With the Godzilla stomp supplied by Schroder's drum machines and Goettle's primordial screech wailing out lyrics that both decry and celebrate the urban jungle's dive bars, abandoned cars, lost weekends, and desolate garbage strewn alleyways the music of Black Horse lives up to its billing as Black Art. Goettle writes most of the lyrics, and sings, or at least screams, with a raw, uncontained bellow. The tunes have a vaguely feminist slant, but the approach is pure aggression and aggro. Imagine the Cramps without the campy humor, Black Sabbath with a social consciousness, or Steppenwolf after a three week Romilar binge and you're moving in the right direction. If it wasn't delivered at such a glacial pace, "Shake Shake Shake" could create a dance craze, although the shaking they're discussing may have more to do with sex than the dancefloor. "Hey Sailor" sounds like the doomed mumbling of a pole dancer attempting a halfhearted seduction of a strip club patron too drunk to even know what he's doing. If misery loves company, you might even call it a love song. The guitars on "Ink on My Scars" are almost tuneful. It's the kind of badass blues that guys have been writing for years; hearing a woman deliver it provides a disorienting shot of macha virility. "I Am My Own Worst Enemy" is another swaggering ode to self-destruction driven by crashing slabs of guitar noise and Goettle's tortured vocals. It sounds like the lament of a cutter having a dissociated conversation with the face in the mirror. This album won't be everybody's cup of hemlock, but those who like to grit their teeth and gallop over the cliff to dive into the whirlpool of chaos will be glad to saddle up this horse.

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