Six Dead Horses are a self-proclaimed ‘relentless doom metal mountain‘ hailing once more from Orlando, Florida. ‘Mountain’ is the right word here. What makes music mountainous I hear you ask? The equation is simple and is lined out clearly in their debut self-released EP, Horn, Tusk, Antler: Enormous, swaggering riffs and reverberating drones drenched in distortion, played through very loud, very large amps. The outcome is truly monolithic structures of sound that are relaxed psychedelica one moment, then fist-pumping slabs of metal the next.
Six Dead Horses use this juxtaposition of textures with aplomb on the opening track, Lakota. A droning, vaguely oriental riff kicks off the proceedings. It’s the kind of riff that takes you to a far off kingdom, where you are the warrior king surveying your lands from upon’t thy citadel. Then the drums kick in and you are torn from your chilled fantasy and pulled head-first into the psychedelic ether. This upbeat rhythm section would place Six Dead Horses closer to the ‘stoner rock’ schism than the ‘stoner doom’, if it wasn’t for the megaton riffs and creamy guitar tone that just screams I AM DOOM METAL, HEAR ME ROAR. Avoiding the murky, dirge-like qualities of cult favourites Electric Wizard and Ufomammut the EP never gets bogged down in its own heaviness. The slow sections are perfectly paced, the faster bits are stomping and raucous leaving room for plenty of variation across the three epic tracks.
The vocals showcased on Horn, Tusk, Antler are unlike anything sludge has coughed up before. The duties are split evenly between all the members of the band, whether they be atonal, lung-splitting rasps or grandiose, harmonious howls. The effect is a wholly united assault on your senses, a band of brothers who have no other agenda but to shake you to your very core with intuitive vocal arrangements warped into a terrifying choir by the sludge/doom form. Second track, Human Dragon, Father of Man, features a bellowing chorus climax: ‘I AM THE MOUNTAIN. I AM THE SUN. I AM THE UNDEAD REPTILIAN.‘ I doubt many would be able to resist joining in on such a glorious refrain in the heat of the moment.
Six Dead Horses are swelling with potential. I always reserve a particular respect for unsigned bands who are rabid to get their music out there, simply to share their creation. It’s a well-produced record, evidently a lot of time, effort and money was spent on getting to this point. Give them the time they deserve and download this EP. If you are browsing this blog it’s fair to say you will enjoy it anyway. They’ve also been slated as the ‘ultimate psychedelic metal experience‘. I wrote half this article high, the other half drunk and I find myself agreeing. Go get.