To my knowledge, no mythology about horses with fangs exists. So it seems that, instead of basing their music on some ancient legend or folk story, the members of Charlottesville’s Horsefang have opted to forge their own epic. With song titles that refer to genesis, plagues and dead horses, the band’s debut EP evokes its own unique cosmic tale. Ultimately, though, its sonic narratives leave it up to you to imagine a more tangible storyline.
The first grinding riff of "Genesis in the Retort" swirls like a distorted sonic sandstorm, while the drums gallop forward like heavy hooves on a desert plain. The song covers a lot of ground (clocking in at eight minutes), but the stride gradually rumbles to a halt, and then the fangs take over. The bass growls as the guitars and drums take plodding stabs at your eardrums. The bite is deep, venomous and thick with tension.
"We Will Use Your Dead as Vessels" picks up where "Genesis" left off, but, as the title suggests, quickly injects an avalanche of riffs into the empty vessels that it has just trampled and poisoned. A serpentine guitar line slithers into the mix and writhes as the hooves return to shake the earth again.
Then comes the flood. Waves of distortion wash away everything and the water level rises with ascending, frenetic guitar licks.
|Take a listen to Horsefang‘s "Plaguebreaker":
"Plaguebreaker" charts the soaked terrain that follows and, as the EP’s shortest number, is armed with the most intense and focused power, letting loose riff after infectious riff as it coils into a feverish finale.
Finally, "River of Dead Horses" streams forth, murky and sluggish, with the sinister and eternal laziness of the underworld. The jabbing fangs of the drums return, but this time the points are dull and the resulting friction ignites into a desperate inferno. The inferno rages and the squealing guitar fights to escape. But the flames eventually smolder, and the ominous, bleak plodding returns again and hammers out the EP’s waning seconds, like the final nails being driven into a coffin.
Heavy, you say? Yeah, it’s heavy, both sonically and thematically, but the gravity, tension and release of Horsefang’s EP stands out against the gigantic sea of dime-a-dozen, verse-chorus-verse song structures. When you listen to this EP’s four songs, you’ll find more substance than on most full-length albums lying around the record stores these days.