The Fourth Seal by Pale Horseman

Release date: November 24, 2017
Label: Black Bow Records

Sludge/doom maniacs will find Pale Horseman‘s brand of slow-tempo, occasionally chugging, stoner rock influenced heaviness satisfying and addictive. The band sends monoliths of crushing rhythm guitar avalanching on unsuspecting doom metal fans and sludge metal fans with the best intentions of rendering them half-buried in muck and grime. The riffs are rather filthy but jagged-edged, like a dirty, rusty saw used to surgically cut off an extremity posing an extreme risk of sepsis to the screaming patient.

Made up of a four-piece from the city of Chicago, Pale Horseman has worked with esteemed musicians and producers in the metal scene such as Dennis Pleckham of Bongripper, Noah Landis of Neurosis, and Justin Broadrick of Godflesh. The Pale Horseman’s live shows are described as “crushing,” by spectators.

The music never picks up pace and Pale Horseman would be wise to consider some nuance in their tempo changes in the future. Fans of slow, immutable dirge and doom will love this detail however, and I myself, like the direction the band chose to employ on album of question, The Fourth Seal. There’s no cavalcade of chugging hardcore à la Hatebreed here, even as the hardcore barks sound close to those of Jamey Jasta’s. Overall, Pale Horseman adds some variance to a scene with little wiggle-room for experimentation and does a commendable job writing and executing their own material.

The music is suffocating at times due to the heavy riffs and lack of atmosphere. This was certainly the intention of the musicians involved in the project. The band obviously loves a little doom and stoner rock, and whether or not their hardcore leanings surfaced on The Fourth Seal will be a tidbit to discover about the band’s approach in an interview somewhere. I regard this album with warmth and enjoyment considering how the metal scene these days sees less devotees to this style. The music is a ten-ton hammer at full blast and all other lesser practitioners of the craft should take notice of the band’s passionate effort and expert precision. The Fourth Seal is a good jam.

Music this cool should invite fans out of the woodwork regardless of style. Whether you like the hardcore barks or heavy doom rhythm splurges, one thing’s for sure – Pale Horseman’s The Fourth Seal may not be trendy at this time and neither will the style find itself permanently outdated, but Pale Horseman should find fans who love this style of music and fans should find the band endearing for the simple fact that music like theirs is easy to enjoy.


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