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Horseburner - The Thief

Label: Ripple Music
Format: Download
Released: 2019
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan
Rating: 9/10

Works of art often require many observations and re-experiences to be fully appreciated, and I suspect that this is the case for “The Thief,” the 2019 album from Horseburner. It’s an album of depths and layers, of concrete and velvet, of ocean and desert, of beauty and bludgeoning, and of clean and distorted tones. I want to say that it’s a concept album, but I’m still not fully sure. . . . there’s a clear nautical/oceanic link between a number of the songs, however.


I'm sure I won't be the only reviewer to compare them to Baroness, but it's a favorable comparison, including the album cover art. Their sound hearkens strongly to Baroness's early stuff, with gravelpit vocals over alternately aggressive and reflective drums, with sludgy, muddy guitars making sinuous jumps from groovy to heavy to pretty. A motif is established in intro instrumental title track, which is a thing of enchanting melodic power, and it’s welcome when it returns later in the album. To classify this simply as Doom, Stoner, Baroness-like, Sludge, or any other category would do it a disservice. It’s Metal, sure, but it’s just great music. Highlights abound on this record, but don’t miss, “The Thief” and its counterpart, “Thiefsong,” plus “The Fisherman's Vow” and its separate outro, “Seas Between,” “Hand of Gold Man of Stone,” and “Fathoms.”

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