Red Horse marks Early Graves' first output đầu ra since their vocalist was killed in a tour van accident in 2010. Hardened and honed by years of DIY touring and big-name tư vấn gigs, the San Francisco punk-inflected metal band's songs ring true with pain và anger.

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Early Graves have had it hard. Coping with the loss of a bandmate, especially one as full of youth and vitality as their late vocalist Makh Daniels, seems lượt thích an insurmountable mountain to climb, and yet, these San Francisco boys have done their damnedest khổng lồ overcome the worst. Red Horse marks their first recorded output since Daniels was killed in a van accident while the band was on tour with Funeral Pyre in 2010, & it paints the portrait of a young group that still has everything khổng lồ prove to itself, if not khổng lồ others. Hardened & honed by years of DIY touring và big-name support gigs, the songs ring true with real, agonizing pain và anger, felt on a more visceral level than your average emotionally detached death/grind crew can hope to lớn scrape toward. On tracks like "Misery", "Death Obsessed", "Pure Hell", & the slow, sad collapse of album closer "Quietus", you can tell that they mean it, that every word và every chord has been ripped straight from the heart of their still-bleeding wounds.


Even when disregarding its backstory và focusing solely on the music at hand, Red Horse is impressive. It's a marked step forward from the kitchen-sink death/hardcore/crust/grind of their last LP, Goner, and a much more mature album overall. Early Graves haven't abandoned their many-headed hydra of influences, but they have figured out how lớn stitch them together into one cohesive blend. They don't sound lượt thích a mélange of other bands anymore; they sound like Early Graves, and that's a damn good band khổng lồ sound lượt thích in 2012.

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Red Horse sees them experimenting more with melody và the dynamics of soft & loud. Album opener "Skinwalker" begins with a lone, spidery acoustic lead that carries through the whole song even as it builds into Early Graves' customary vitriolic metalpunk maelstrom; the same device repeats on the melancholy, sludgy "Days Grow Cold", as their trusty old Swedish death metal influence thrusts itself into the spotlight. The aforementioned "Quietus" feels like a goodbye, its initial furor spiraling down into a flurry of clear, gently captivating melodic riffing, và all points in between the two bear the mark of the band's fresh willingness lớn step even further past the box they'd smashed through years ago. The production is as raw & grainy as ever, aligning them more closely with their crusty heroes in 1990s Memphis stalwarts His hero Is Gone và Swedish death tone gurus Entombed than with any of their shinier, more processed peers.

New vocalist John Strachan, a longtime friend who also sings for the Funeral Pyre, had big shoes khổng lồ fill, and he did a commendable job both preserving Daniels' legacy of intensity và bringing his own caustic touches lớn the mic. Situated high in the mix for maximum impact, Strachan's vocal performance comes across as lonesome, ornery, & mean. His delivery perfectly suits the often chaotic tangle of sounds that his bandmates delight in creating, clawing through the walls of noise with a scratchy, raspy bellow bred by hardcore punk & honed by howling mockery at the cross in his đen metal band.

You've got lớn hand it lớn these guys. They pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, overcoming brutal tragedy and cutting loss. They refused khổng lồ quit, & even managed to improve, remaining bloodied, but unbowed. This is their tribute lớn their fallen brother, and their statement of intent khổng lồ the rest of the world. Early Graves are dead. Long live Early Graves.