Horse Latitudes
Black Soil LP

You know that ominous drone that sets off every record that’s supposed to have a “dark” atmosphere? It’s here. Don’t get me wrong, I love that drone. You hold a note for 79 minutes and put it on a CDr; I’ll buy it, or at least download it from your BandCamp. You know that growly bass tone you get when you turn the amplifier up and make the tubes scream in pain? It’s here too. It isn’t hard to do, but it’s effective, and I enjoy it. A lot of times it is the simple things you are looking for, and this record is pretty simple.

Black Soil by Horse Latitudes is billed as an MLP, but at 40 minutes running time, I’m going to go ahead and call it their third full-length since 2010. So with this, two more full-lengths, a demo, and two splits (one with Hooded Menace which I unfortunately haven’t heard yet but am getting on it shortly), Horse Latitudes have been a busy trio. Though their music doesn’t seem hard to make, it is precisely that which makes it difficult to compose. Black Soil is just 2 bassists turned up loud, and one drummer pounding out caveman rhythms, but there’s something here. While most of the first track “Initiation / Black Soil” is the bassists slogging along matching each other note for note, and some pained singing and growling from the vocalist / drummer, it works. It isn’t the track I would have chosen to open this record, but it’s a decent enough song. “Forest” however is where the band begins to perk up.

More chugging, more growling, more howling, and more plodding drums is really all it seems you’re going to get from these guys, but once you dig in, you can feel there is more. “Forest” is a further 9 minutes of primitive Doom, but it begins to diverge from the formula of the first track. There are flashes of dissonance here when the basses separate and begin to stand on their own. These spots are where it really begins to become interesting. It is clear these guys can make the Neanderthal crawl work for them, but their third and final epic track, the 17 minute “Eternal Spring” is easily the standout on the record. There’s no technical wizardry on display here, but they do the absolute most with what they have. A slow 6 minute build of one bass and slowly blooming toms eventually comes crashing in with their trademark distorted bass and booming howled singing. Here is where they show their creativity the most. The basses have different tones so they’re both audible, they dance around and between each other frequently, exposing that there are in fact two talented musicians making this racket.

The best Doom record of the year in 2012 was Bell Witch’s Longing, and Black Soil isn’t quite on that ground, but if the next Horse Latitudes record begins building where “Eternal Spring” leaves off and improves from there, we’re going to have a rager on our hands. These guys may exercise minimalism and restraint when it comes to the riff, but they know how to craft a depressing tune. If this kind of thing interests you, get this LP, and then sit on the edge of your seat for whatever Horse Latitudes releases next, because it is bound to be something pretty special.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Nick E
August 5th, 2013


  1. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    this is pretty damned cool. I love the sound of those two bassists playing together.

  2. Commented by: blasting D

    Horse latitudes and black soil are incredible! very special.

    if you’re interested in reading an interview with hem, here it is :

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