One of the most famous underground bands in the East Anglian metal scene are A Horse Called War. They released a killer demo (We Ain’t Proud Of This) in 2006 and then the EP Stumble at Every Hurdle a year later. After rave reviews and a killer history of live shows, they sadly disbanded in 2010. Even though a few members went to form other bands (William English and Coronach), the call to war was too strong and five years later the Horse rode once more. After witnessing their comeback show in Norwich in April, it was clear they were never forgotten by their fans and their resurrection was a welcome one. I bought a shirt as soon as their performance was over because they won me over in a riff. With upcoming shows supporting the like of Palehorse, Let it Die and Raging Speedhorn in the pipeline, it was time to delve into their discography.
This album is a quite different beast to their demo. The songs on We Ain’t Proud of This are in the 3-5 minute category while Stumble has songs nearing 11 minutes, taking a steadier, more concentrated approach. What was clear when first listening to Stumble at Every Hurdle, was how fresh it still sounds. If you had told me it was released this year I would have believed you. I can now see why so many people hold this band important to them as this release is absolutely stellar. Sure some of the tracks are overlong (‘Son and Heir of a Mongrel Bitch,’ and ‘Bodil Joensen’); but then again Ride the Lightning has ‘Escape’ on it and not many albums are perfect.
It’s pretty obvious to those who listen to it, but this band (like most modern stoner bands) is influenced by Superjoint Ritual, Down, Eyehategod and Iron Monkey. The influence of the NOLA scene runs throughout this release, with riffs and groove of a ridiculous magnitude and breakdowns that register on the Richter scale. ‘Backdoor Sluts 9’ is one such example of this. ‘Ruined Everything’ has some insane guitar work with Shane Miller‘s swamp monster shrieks laid over it like a well spread jam. It really is a demonic sounding EP; there’s a real feeling of malice and energy flowing through this record. This release may stumble at a few hurdles but leaps over many more with flying colours.
After listening to this band’s discography, I’m really glad this horse is saddled up and riding once more. The scene is a lot stronger now that they’re back.
Best Tracks: ‘Backdoor Sluts 9,’ and ‘Ruined Everything.’
1. Son and Heir of a Mongrel Bitch
2. Backdoor Sluts
3. Ruined Everything
4. Live to Lose
5. Bodil Joensen
A Horse Called War are:
Shane – Vocals
Dave _ Guitar
Carter – Guitar
Haydn – Bass