: One of the greatest icons of the experimental music genre. Established in 2006 from Chapel
Carolina, musical mastermind Jenks Miller, with the help of multiple other musicians, sought out to create some of the most euphoric yet bizarre tracks that ever set foot on the music scene. In albums such as 2006’s “Impale Golden Horn
,” lush and beauteous soundscapes invoked transcendent melodies and euphoria. On the other hand, records such as “Forbidden
Planet” and “On the Eclipse
,” fusions of black metal, prog rock, jazz, and drone created bizarrely dark atmospheres that are both hypnotic and distorted. Despite
the band’s music being categorized easily, there is always something new and intriguing that it puts out for its audience. However, behind all of this, there is a sleuth of unreleased material that has been collaborated in 2012
to create a cassette tape entitled “Stolen Fire
.” At first glance, considering how experimental Horseback
is with their sound, there is no telling how this rare tape would sound to even the most loyal of fans.
Side A of the tape is partially composed of electronic beat tracks, which is rather unexpected for a band that focuses mostly on the darkened drone spectrum. They are simple synthesizer beats with other electronic effects that somewhat calls back to the 80’s style of the synth-prog genre. There is also some singing that overlaps this music as it goes, although the title song contains some monologue that engulfs the entire song. The vocals here are quite monotonous and low-tuned, but while this causes the tracks to sound rather bizarre, they actually give it a unique and intriguing vibe to it as well. The electronic music becomes even more hypnotic thanks to these uniformly styled vocals, with its simplicity and its unique fusion. However, for the most part, the tracks serve in giving their listeners a relaxed and chilled vibe that massages the senses, and they are rather stimulating and soothing. Even though this type of dub-beat music is far from the sound that Horseback
often showcases, it is nonetheless a great and unique characteristic of this record.
Along with the electronic beat tracks, “Stolen Fire
’s” side A also contains tracks that venture even further into the sinister black metal territory than Horseback
normally ever did. They are primarily tracks composed of distorted guitar noise and static with other effects thrown in the mix. However, even as simple compositions, they invoke horror, obscurity, and eeriness with every second they last. Miller’s black metal snarls roam like ghosts in the background, making the soundscapes even more haunting. The synthesizer-noise effects that are infused within the tracks even manage to fit into the band’s hypnotic category, especially in “Luciferian
Theme,” which certainly pertains to the stoner-soundscape genre more than anything else. Sadly, what prevents some of these tracks from being any more powerful is that they are too short and succinct, lasting barely more than two minutes. Nonetheless, these are not the type of tracks that you want to listen to when you go to bed at night.
Within side B of this rare cassette tape lies one of the genre mixes that Horseback
has always done best: Mixes of black metal, prog rock, drone, jazz, country, shoegaze, and other genres to conjure up soothing yet outlandish-sounding tracks. They certainly relate to the material that is found in albums such as “The Invisible Mountain
” and “Half Blood
,” with their bizarre and hypnotizing nature. Electric guitar jams, spacey synthesizer effects, distorted background noise, simple drums, and raw high-pitch vocals construct the atmospheric music and form somewhat dark yet mitigating tracks. As the songs continue their march, they build up in order to retain interest and development without become boring and tedious. Lasting for almost twenty minutes, the tracks perform their surreal sounds without overstaying their welcome, calling back to the usual territory that Horseback
had always specialized in creating.
” has proven to be a great release that fans of experimental music that reaches out to different genres will want to add to their collection. From old-fashioned and simple synthesizer beats to chilling and unearthly black metal soundscapes to the band’s usual grind of metallic prog-jazz fusions, this cassette is a diversely intriguing and highly intriguing listen. Even as bonus material that was initially never let out to the sun, and despite the fact that a few of the tracks are too curt and brief, all of the tracks are great and enriching in their own ways and manners. However, the best listen that this collaboration has to set on the table would be “Retribution
.” It is dark and transcending, with cultural instrumentation to increase the enthralling factor, and it builds up extremely well. Overall, while it is obviously not for everyone, fans of Horseback
and other experimental projects will want to get their hands on this rare little gem.