And so we return, just shy of the prime meridian. It seems as though Australia has been one of the hotspots in terms of metal and alternative rock goes. We’ve had some really talented young acts come from there in recent years. However, a little further South and slightly East, we tend to forget about New Zealand. After all, they did give us the almighty Ulcerate, who is one of best death metal bands of our generation. Now, however, the band that we’re discussing is a fairly young one, called Spook The Horses. Combining some killer post-metal with tinges of sludge and doom, their new album Rainmaker is definitely a good start for the band.
Four years since the release of their debut, the band has used the time to grow and evolve as musicians. The album was best described by a good friend as a “Fluxion-era Ocean with some sludginess”, and the description definitely fits upon first listen. The guitars sound similar, the production is flawless, and the harsh vocals come careening from seemingly nowhere and deliver the one-two punch that many people really look for. There’s clearly some influence from various post-metal bands on this record, with everything from Isis riffs to Cult Of Luna-esque ambiance. The band really wear their influences on their sleeve, which can be good or bad, depending on how you view it.
The band never seems to plod along throughout the record, either. Time and time again, there have been records with some killer songs, but with horribly boring filler songs in between that hurt the recording more than help it. The music is refreshing, not in the sense that the wheel has been reinvented, but rather in the sense that the record never becomes boring. It’s really hard today to make a record, particularly a post-metal record, without at least one weak song, but the fellas in STH managed to do this pretty easily.
However, while it is nice to enjoy some good ol’ post-metal, the band have yet to come into their own. This record by no means comes off as sub-par; rather it comes off as a band who is still young and has yet to find their niche, the thing or things that will set them apart from the countless other post-metal or sludge bands out there. Perhaps adding some more doom elements in there could really make the next album shine brighter than their music ever has before, or maybe adding some clean vocals with soaring harmonies. Simply brainstorming will do no good; the band is not obligated to base their next album off of the opinions of this reviewer, nor do they need to fill a moral duty by pleasing everyone. As long as the band has their heart and minds in the right place to produce the best music they can, then things will eventually sort themselves out.
The band still has plenty of time to mature. Most bands don’t really find their ‘sound’ until a few records in, but the band are extremely close to their own. From beginning to end, this record will satisfy anyone’s need for detuned, sludgy, riff-laden post-metal, and there is no doubt about that. While the band must grow to set them apart, it must not diminish the effort put forth on this record, because they have a bright future ahead of them, as long as they continue to push to be the best they can be.
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Spook the Horses – Rainmaker gets…