The Power of a Million Exploding Suns: Horse the Band
Good afternoon kiddies. Today I am actually going to take you in a slightly different road than where I normally take you. A journey that will take us into space, back to your parent’s house, and then the dark abyss that is your psyche. Just kidding! Its music.
Music has been a huge part of my life. In Arthur’s young years, you would see him at shows all the time. Whether it be at a local venue, or making the trip out of state, music was integral to my youth. Lately however, I haven’t been going anywhere near as much. Call it old age, call it laziness, I only really go out of my way to see a few bands ( Black Dahlia Murder, Amon Amarth, just to name a couple.) Most of the music I listened to as a kid I do not listen to now. It just doesn’t seem to have the same resonance. Tastes evolve and bands evolve (not all the time good, I’m looking at you Green Day), and sometimes you just find something better.
A few years ago I ventured into the heart of Times Square with my buddy and Metalro Lifemate (hetero metal lifemate), to go and check out DragonForce at the Nokia Theater. We were pumped as we were going to be able to meet them before the show as well. We did our meet and greet, I promised myself I would not become star struck (fat fucking chance), and then we got special seats in the VIP section. I won’t say how, only that we did. Normally I tend to conk out for the openers, unless it is someone I already know, but the band opening for DragonForce made me chuckle with their name. Horse the Band. I thought to myself, “You have my attention”.
Ladies and gentleman, what assaulted my ears that night was a raping of my faith. I had never gone to a show before in my life where I was blown away by one of the unknown openers. I looked over at my buddy, and he had the same look on his face.
“Who the fuck are these guys?” we both exclaimed.
“ I don’t know man. But my face is being melted.”
Horse the Band is a mash up of multiple different styles into a conglomeration of beauty and absolute disgustingness. Incorporating video game elements, metal, progressive, and just sheer fucking shredding, they do well what 10 bands would have to do at once to be even decent at. Source material ranging from Super Mario to The Sentry (oh my fucking god yes), and just all around daily life, they create sounds that just ebb and flow into each other in a casserole of awesomeness. I sat there in amazement for about a half an hour. Never have I seen a pit at a show become so fierce so quick. Most metal shows it takes a little while to get warmed up before going apeshit. This one was dialed to 11 immediately. After playing about 6-7 songs, they announce they would be playing one of their more famous (on the internet) songs, titled CutsMan. An ode to a Mega Man enemy, and all around fucking nasty track. Before I knew what was going on, I was leaving the VIP section and heading down to the pit just to get a chance to throw down a chop as the chorus rang out with “CUT! CUT! CUT! CUT!” My heart racing, and my arm chopping, I was in musical bliss.
An hour and a half later, we were heading back to the train station to head home . None of us talked about DragonForce , just Horse the Band. Nothing against DragonForce that night, it was just that Horse blew them away to the point where I didn’t even care about the headliner…which is saying something. As soon as I got onto the train, I began to try and look them up on the internet and learn all I can about them. Unfortunately, my phone at the time was absolute garbage so I wasn’t able to satiate my hunger until I got home. When I did arrive home though, I youtubed and googled the fuck out of them and found out they had quite a few albums out, which I promptly purchased. I reeeeally wanted to download them immediately, but since I enjoyed them so much, I decided it would be better to give them some money. Just to say thank you really. “The Mechanical Hand” was the first one I listened to, and it is simply fantastic. A glorious blend of the above mentioned styles really gave them a different sound than what I was used to. I dove right in.
Horse the Band has acquired a moniker of being labeled Nintendocore, however, that is far from it. Granted they do have quite a bit of video game themed songs, it’s not all that they offer. Vocalist, Nathan Winneke honestly is one of the best front men that I have witnessed. His lyrics range from unbelievably depressing to altogether thought provoking. Blending themes of depression then going to literally just getting drunk on tour. It’s a mixed bag that is sure to strike a chord with almost anyone in some fashion. Now not to say that it’s all depressing, they do have such a gift with incorporating old Nintendo music into their own music in ways that will touch you right in the childhood (don’t even think about it you perverts). You’ll crack a serious smile the first time you hear the pipes from Mario. Trust me. I also love the fact that they mention multiple comic and game characters. Like the previously mentioned “CutsMan”, there is also “Birdo”, “The Red Tornado”, and my personal favorite and title track of this column,”A Million Exploding Suns”, a tribute to The Sentry of Marvel Comics. I love that fucking song. It’s so brutal.
Horse the Band’s most recent release, “Desperate Living” was one of the best albums I had heard in years. Upping up the serious factor in terms of theme and sound, this marked a sort of transition in what I feel is a more progressive album. Not necessarily labeled a prog album, in my experience most of the tracks feel like a trip directly into Nathan’s psyche, and he needs you to listen. Not even asking, more demanding. I also need to point out that I was seriously impressed with their implementation of the time is running up theme from Super Mario in “The Failure of All Things.”(my personal favorite) I don’t understand how they managed to make something that already makes me panic way more intense.
I understand that it may sound as if these guys are my personal friends or that I want to have their babies, but I assure you if you are into relatively heavy music or childhood sound nostalgia, you’ll dig them. Arthur gives them his certified stamp of approval, and I hope they get a chance to come back to NY (preferably the Albany area) very soon. It would definitely make my fucking year.
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