Horse The Band • A Natural Death

Los Angeles experimental metalcore outfit Horse The Band have developed a cult following in the 10 years they've been together. Known for their 8-bit video game influenced sound put together with the help of a synthesiser and a Game Boy cartridge which in turn inspired the bands labelling of 'Nintendo-Core' Yes that’s right, Horse The Band created a new genre, something which has never gotten them great recognition but has enabled them to continue as a band. I think it’s because they’re one of those bands that acquire a certain type of fan, the fan that likes to show off to his/her friends all the incredibly weird and underground music they have in their collection and Horse The Band certainly fill both criteria.

New album A Natural Death is their third full length release, following on from 2005's The Mechanical Hand.

Now, I’ve seen a couple of other people use these words but I think they give a particularly good idea as to where Horse The Band are going with their new release. Keyboardist Erik Engstrom puts it nicely in a press release.
"A Natural Death is about the futility and arrogance of creation and destruction, the overwhelming scale of space and time, and the brutal majesty of nature, the horror of birth and the beauty of death. Everyone who will ever live will die a natural death, and will soon after be forgotten for eternity. Hopefully this album will serve as a warning to the human race to stop taking itself so seriously, as we have seen the dire consequences of its actions in the future. You are nothing."

For a band that self confessed to creating ‘Nintendo-Core’ this statement feels far too serious, perhaps it’s a little tongue in cheek, or I certainly hope it is anyway. I have read that this band has in the past recorded an EP about pizza, so pretty much anything’s possible.

Musically ‘A Natural Death’ is pretty technical stuff, every track is delivered at a ferocious pace, the drumming remains continuously solid and the vocals are particularly snarling. It did strike me though that without their trademark ‘Nintendo-sounds’ they’ve got nothing, they’d be just another metalcore outfit. So whether you’re into it or not, the band has certainly made a name for themselves, even if it is ‘Nintendo-Core’.

There’s always the danger of slating an album like this and then being told that you’ve got no sense of humour, or you’re taking it too seriously. Well I do have a sense of humour and you couldn’t take this album seriously if you tried. Basically I’m just not particularly ‘down’ with ‘Nintendo-Core’, but then again I’m the sort of person who keeps the volume turned down on games consoles because I can’t stand the irritating music. Horse The Band utilise that very same irritating music, so as far as I’m concerned they’re equally as irritating. This is not to say the music is bad, they’ve actually made a pretty good job of the album, I think it’s just an acquired taste. So should you buy it? Well, if you want some non serious metal why not.