“The flesh of our children tastes sweet on their lips”.
Texan doomstrels Thunder Horse have got some interesting things to say, not least that little snippet I’ve lifted from Apocalypse, one of a number of highlights from their rather splendid new full-lengther After The Fall.
They are a band with a difference, are Thunder Horse. Despite conforming to some established doom/stoner tropes – Orange Amps, the occasional lapse into lolloping, slightly perfunctory Sabbathy passages, for example – their music explores far more intriguing angles, and, as already noted, their lyrics give pause for serious thought on more than one occasion as they prod the listener into self reflection on raging slabs of rifferama like the afformentioned Apocalypse and stentorian call to arms New Normal.
Pleasingly, though, for the discerning listener, they stretch their own envelope referentially with nods to English crust Gods Amebix on the all too brief The Other Side and question-everything Godfathers Killing Joke (Apocalypse again). This absorbance of not-strictly-doom aspects gives real zing and interest to proceedings, showing that there’s a lot more to Thunder Horse than, well, thunder…
That said, there is plenty of sturm und drang on hand too, if that’s all you happen to be after; The opening title track rides in on some quite superb riffage and benefits from a mid-song drift into Floydian waters, whilst the bouncy Aberdeen is also guaranteed to sate more straightforward tastes. The grungy, almost gothic Requiem is the sort of thing Ozzy might flirt with in 2023, but, taken as a whole, when all these elements are put through the blender, you’re left with the impression that, whilst there’s something for everyone of a rockular bent here, Thunder Horse realise the importance of pleasing their own artistic urges first before the rest of us get much of a look in.
That’s not a complaint, by the way – I haven’t enjoyed an album of this kind as much for quite some while, so the formula clearly has a thing or two going for it – more a nod to the fact that it doesn’t really matter to Thunder Horse what you or I think of After The Fall. They’ll keep doing this for as long as the spirit moves, and that’s something for which I think we should all give thanks, because this album is really very good indeed. Here’s to many more!
After The Fall releases on July 21st.