HorehoundHorehound are signed to Blackseed Recordings, they are a Doom/Stoner band who on 20 April this year released their debut self titled album. When I listened to this album and started talking to band member Brendan, I got more and more excited about this album and the prospects of this band, and I think you'll see why.
Named after a plant which is an important ingredient in Witchcraft folklore, and not a dog selling it's body to pay the bills, I expected a heavy but haunting experience. I was not to be disappointed. First, a bit about the people...
LineupSince recording the album I have been listening too, they have seen some changes.
The lineup on the album is as follows:
Mike Altopiedi – Guitar, Vocals
JD Dauer – Drums
Shy Kennedy – Vocals
Brendan Parrish – Guitar
David “Wes” Westfall - Bass
Unfortunately Mike had to move away so David "Wes" Westfall has moved to axe duties and Nick Kopco has been recruited on bass.
What Horehound give you on this record are heavy, catchy, head banging riffs, coupled with a spectral, delay and reverb laden vocal, which is a triumph of a performance from Shy in my eyes. The guitars occasionally bring a welcome melodic element with some of the guitar work which adds a great dynamic to some of the songs.
Speaking to Brendan about this he told me "Settling on one genre is always difficult, but... we (do) fall in the Doom/Stoner Metal spectrum. The guitar melodies were something I’ve always wanted to do, and something that Wes brought to the table. ... We write based on what we want to hear, and if that reminds someone of a certain style of music, all the better."
The classic Doom style tracks on offer include World to Come, a fantastically eerie slow heavy riff, almost Slayer-esque in its intro, with a stoner vibe for the breakdown which works very well.
The Dead Don't Lie is a simple but effective track. A strong, satisfyingly heavy fuzzy, seeped in Sabbath, riff, with a spacey feedback effect in parts which offsets the vocal style particularly well, creating a dark ambience.
Tracks such a Sangreal and Crowns and Thrones and Myope up the pace, but somehow manage to still feel like immensely heavy Doom fare. Sangreal I particularly enjoyed. It's heavy with pace and a storming riff, but it's true greatness can be heard in a sublime breakdown where vocal melody twins with guitar brilliantly.
Waters of Lethe see's Horehound showing off their range, with a progressive number, which has soft and heavy elements and a really nice bluesy solo seeing it out before the album closes on Waking Time, which gives us the first glimpse of a heavy vocal, and it works well and adds a great new dimension to finish the album making you want to hear more.
The general vibe of the album is a very authentic sounding live feel and it comes across very well, Brendan tells me " The method of recording was very intentional. We wanted to really emulate how we sound live on this recording, and I think Matt Schor (our recording engineer) definitely captured that. The guitar, bass, and drums you hear on the album are pretty much as they were recorded. Matt did a wonderful job of adjusting the levels to get the sound where we all wanted it to be."
Although it is clear from speaking to Brendan that Mike's contribution will be sorely missed, there is a sense amongst the band that there is so much more to come, and I for one will be looking forward to hearing it.
"Mike has since moved... With the absence of Mike, who contributed greatly to our sound, we have an exciting new lineup and are actively working on new material. We’re coming together even stronger sonically with a diverse blend of musical influences that will definitely please the masses once they get a taste. We have locked in on our sound, and have some exciting things coming for 2017."
If the band continue on an upward trajectory then the album "Horehound" may be considered in their history as a "classic line up" release or even as a precursor album to a sonic progression. Either way it's worth getting on board and giving this album a spin. Visit Bandcamp to buy it here.
4 out of 5 - Great Doom album with sublime vocal performance, well worth a listen with some brilliant highlights.
Writer: Jonathan Radley