Newsflash!! Extra, extra!! A band is doing something new that is passionate, heartfelt, experienced, and metal. The reason for the news flash is that those qualities are so rare I feel I have to go out on the street corners and shout it to the world.
A Pale Horse Named Death is a brainchild of Type O Negative founding member Sal Abruscato and engineering wizard Matt Brown who has done work with Jane’s Addiction and founded Uranium 235. All research I have done and the limited exposure I have had with them show they are true class acts and take their music very seriously, but not so seriously that they forget about their fans.
What APHND has done is created a website for their fans. www.apalehorsenameddeath.com is an interactive social networking site. Fans have individual profiles, they can invite friends, the have walls, and inboxes. In laymen’s terms this is the Facebook of bands. The innovation is wonderful because industry people don’t care about bands websites, they care about what the fans are saying about you on other sites. APHND has cut out the need of fans posting elsewhere. They can talk about their favorite band with their favorite band.
Obviously the most exciting thing is the music. “And Hell Will Follow Me” is a powerhouse of Gothic/Grungy Metal that left me wanting more. Sitting back with your eyes closed and letting your mind wander is the best part of this album. The imagery it creates can sometimes be blissful, sad, scary, but always powerful.
“Die Alone” opens with a classic grunge/metal instrumental and then hits you with a wall of sound. What’s amazing is the tempo is very slow, but all instruments including some mood setting vocals are right in your face. Being known mainly as a drummer, Sal does an amazing job of staying within his range for the sake of the song. “Pill Head” holds a similar formula, but tells a story of addiction. The mood of the song helps you see and feel the struggle. The entire album creates a conflict in me with always knowing something is going on deeper in the song, but just not sure if I want to tap into it. “Devil in the Closet” is a great example of this. A child talking to his mother about things in his closet is something we can always relate to. Put it to some haunting gothic rhythms and your right back to hiding under your covers.
One of my favorite moments in the album is the 2:07 instrumental called “Bad Dream.” The song uses haunting wind sounds and distant screams. For some reason I kept picturing the horse on the cover running through my mind. At the end the song concludes with a loud scream that snaps you out of your own personal “Bad Dream.”
For you true Metal fans, Sal has provided a song that should get significant radio time and move this album along in the mainstream. “Serial Killer” has all the tools needed to be a hit: great riffs, very quick tempo, and some killer vocals. I’m going to start requesting this at online radio stations. It’s one of the best songs I have heard this year.
Another favorite of mine is “Meet the Wolf.” Very good guitar work and some distorted vocals to pull it away from the other tracks. Leading into the chorus there is a part where Sal says “your addiction,” the phrase is then repeated by a backing vocalist. I can’t explain why but that one phrase makes this song for me and I can’t get enough of that part.
By only highlighting a few of the 13 tracks I’m leaving it up to you to head over to the site and pick up your digital copy. The band is shopping labels at the moment so get in on the ground floor.
The album was done completely by Sal; a la Dave Grohl. All instruments and vocals except for some backing vocals and some lead guitar work. With that said, the band has announced they will begin touring and they have put some very experienced musicians in the band to hit the ground running.
If they happen to be in your area make sure to check them out. If not, pick up “And Hell Follows Me” at the website. This band is going to take the metal world by storm. Scary horse and all!
Show me your horns,