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A Natural Death - Horse The Band Horse The BandA Natural Death

Ferret Records

It's got to grate bands like Horse The Band when they witness lesser lights like Enter Shikari suddenly propelled to stardom and heralded by critics as the second coming. Often referred to in the past as 'nintendo-core' by lazy hacks, the Los Angeles-based act have been busy fusing molten hot shards of hardcore and danceable beats for over half a decade now. At the time of writing - having reportedly become utterly disillusioned with the music industry - the band have just embarked on a truly remarkable world tour that will take in no less than forty different countries; with fans from around the globe responsible for booking many of the shows. All things considered, you get more than a sense that it may well be make or break time for HTB.

Always ones to heavily divide opinion, the five-piece's third long-player proper, A Natural Death, isn't likely to change this. On the other hand, given it's staggering quality at times, it could well see the band finally get their long overdue time in limelight. The bludgeoning metalcore of 'Hyperborea' and 'Murder' start matters off in fine style. Elsewhere, 'The Beach' (which consists entirely of a lone female crying over delicate atmospherics) and the funky disco of 'Sex Raptor' show that HTB haven't lost any of their penchant for eccentricity one iota. Like all of their past material, it requires repeat listens to fully allow its seemingly impenetrable madness to begin to make sense; and at sixteen tracks and almost an hour in playing time, A Natural Death is almost too long for comfort. However the fact that it contains some of HTB's very best work to date, such as the excellent 'New York City', means that such a minor slip-up is easily forgiven.

Whilst still maintaining their trademark quirkiness, A Natural Death is Horse the Band's most serious, straight up and arguable very best offering to date. Their time could well be now.

Rating: 4/5 by Dan Jones

Tracklisting

  1. Hyperborea
  2. Murder
  3. The Startling Secret Of Super Sapphire
  4. The Beach
  5. Face Of Bear
  6. Crickets
  7. New York City
  8. Sex Raptor
  9. Broken Trail
  10. The Red Tornado
  11. Treasure Train
  12. His Purple Majesty
  13. Kangarooster Meadows
  14. Rotting Horse
  15. I Think We Are Both Suffering From The Same Crushing Metaphysical Crisis
  16. Lif

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