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The Gorgon Tongue: Impale Golden Horn + Forbidden Planet

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Album Review

Following Relapse's reissue of The Invisible Mountain, the label put out The Gorgon Tongue, a double-CD release of two more Horseback efforts that had also previously appeared on smaller labels, providing further exposure to Jenks Miller's excellent work in varying realms of loud guitar dronescapes. The four-track Impale Golden Horn begins the collection, logically starting with the song "Finale," a nearly-20-minute combination of contemplation and epic metal guitar crumble; it's not meant to crush but to slowly envelop, drawing a clear distinction between itself and The Invisible Mountain's approach. "Laughing Celestial Architect" is the other long drone monster on Impale Golden Horn, a central mantra of guitar tone swathed in feedback that slowly introduces other elegant guitar and drum parts to create a beautiful symphonic effect. The two shorter songs bring out other aspects of Miller's drive for sonic overload; "The Golden Horn" itself includes a steady piano part, deep rhythms, and queasy flange along with the feedback, while "Blood Fountain" brings both piano and acoustic guitar further to the fore to create a gentle conclusion topped off by understated vocals. The second disc, Forbidden Planet, takes a more explicitly black metal turn from the start with "Veil of Maya," harsh guitar flow, scraggly metallic percussion (played very precisely even so), and swathed vocals all intermingling with the expected feedback wash. It's much more readily comparable to The Invisible Mountain, and at points feels like a full adjunct effort. Another difference between it and Impale lies with the blend of the tracks into each other, sometimes signaled only by the quickest or subtlest of changes; the first part of "A High Ashen Breeze" almost goes by without notice, while the shift to a hint of power metal flash on "Alabaster Shithouse" rises out of feedback murk. Overtly beautiful moments can be heard, as on the second part, but there's a sense of them fighting through an overwhelming anger, a wound-up tension evident in contrast.


Formed: 2007 in Chapel Hill, NC

Genre: Metal

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Drawing influence from doom, drone, black metal, and even Americana, Horseback is the post-metal project of Chapel Hill, North Carolina's Jenks Miller. With a sound that owes as much to Neurosis and Earth as it does to Neil Young, Horseback seamlessly blends the plaintiveness of roots music with the weight of metal, exposing a connection between the genres that is both intuitive and innovative. In a short time, Miller has delivered a prolific output of epic works, starting with Impale Golden Horn...
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The Gorgon Tongue: Impale Golden Horn + Forbidden Planet, Horseback
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