Funeral Horse
Divinity For the Wicked

If judged on the merit of riffs alone, Texan tarnation masters Funeral Horse would be a holy grail of hard-rock.  The constant shifts from road-rage solos to dusty blues riffs to pavement cracking noise-rock/hardcore to vintage 70s hard rock backed by a walloping rhythm section will keep you guessing and ducking for cover as to which direction the bombardment is coming from next.  With band members lovingly named Paul Bearer (vocals/guitars) and Jason Andy Argonauts (bass), the entire project has the recipe for sheer global conquest via tongue-in-cheek humor laced into a serious, non-nonsense rock foundation.  But goddamn man, those vocals!  What the hell is that??

Opener “There shall be Vultures” is more musically sound than the walls of a German war bunker.  The trio rams a fistful of riffage up your ass that’s heavily informed by the blues as the fortress of groove constructed is pumped full of hot lead by bone dry snare fire and C4 powered soloing.  Mr. Argonauts keeps his hydras tightly in the pocket and everything is honestly perfect in terms of this style of music.  Everything except one thing…  Maybe they’ll be your cup of tea, but those tuneless yowling vocals aren’t amusing, intense or ironic.  They are just plain bad.  If you can handle ‘em then you are good to go and will enjoy the hell out of this record.  If not, God save ya from the Cyclops’ wrath because that motherfucker is gonna smash you flat.

“Underneath all that ever was” pulls the reigns and slows its team to a curmudgeonly crawl straight through hell with detuned doom riffs opening up into “Hey, I took too much acid again” merry mellotron melodies.  This song will literally hunt you down wherever you hide…the instrumental portion of it is that good.  Then that slow-motion, passion-lacking post-hardcore yell comes in and completely irritates the hell out of the locals.  These guys would be better if they had someone just screaming their head off over this stuff, rather than the turgid yap rapping that’s going on.  I could keep going on about this feature, but I’ll try to ignore it until the review summary in hopes of not boring you into a car crash coma.  If I fail at ignoring it, you have my apologies in advance.

The hilariously titled “A Bit of Weed” is an acoustic, country n’ western galloper pulled directly from Across Tundras’ bag of oats; a gracious instrumental which does its job admirably.  “Gods of Savages” is also (thankfully) mostly instrumental beginning as a dreamy, oscillating Slint-style jam before plunging the detonator on some explosive, Am-Representin’ noise-punk madness.  These time changes are all over the fuckin’ place with drummer Chris Bassett bashin’ the shit out of his kit Brad Elrod style while guitarist Bearer keeps the riffs varied and in your face until ripping a solo that will fry your face with ultraviolet rays.  Southern rock touches permeate the otherwise Melvins-y grumble of “Yigael’s Wall.”  The singing is a bit more plaintive here but it’s still a tough pill to swallow.  It’s like the tame and friendly version of (insert well-known noise-rocker here), a man (or woman) that does it with gusto.  Ian Anderson stops by to play flute on “Cities of the Red Night” which sounds a good deal like an Across Tundras’ drone-scape crossbred with Jethro Tull.  Closer “Gift of Opium and Myrrh” is sort of a standard, thrash-y chug fest with NYC noise-rock and Palm Springs’ stoner rock trading dukes at a High on Fire concert.  It’s certainly not the best song on the album and the bagpipe outro is a tad too Korn-y for my tastes.  Well…maybe it’s more Roddy Piper, and in that case I’ll give it a pass.

So, what is the verdict on Divinity for the Wicked (the band’s second full-length)?  The music is pretty damn kick ass with a lot of great parts and WTF playing that will keep you on your toes.  There are a few half-baked ideas here and there, especially during the last track, but overall the musicianship is damn sound.  If you can hang with the vocals then this album will knock you out cold and give you a nice big handjob while you’re unconscious.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t do the vocals and there is sure enough of them to make me want to punch the stereo whenever they jump in the way one of those beat your ass riffs or batshit drum fills.  Give Funeral Horse a try though and see what you think.  I’ll file this under “sorta recommended,

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jay S
August 14th, 2015

Comments

  1. Commented by: Paul Bearer

    We encourage the punching of stereos. ;)


  2. Commented by: Jay

    Glad to hear Paul, as you should :), and thanks for stopping by with a comment. Sorry I couldn’t seem to get into the vox my friend, but I heartily enjoyed the majority of the music.

    Just one asshole’s opinion, of course. I still hope folks will check it out and enjoy it and I’ll certainly take a peep at future recordings.


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