Review: A Pale Horse Named Death “Infernum In Terra” [Long Branch Records]

Review: A Pale Horse Named Death “Infernum In Terra” [Long Branch Records]

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In 2010 the former drummer of Type O Negative and Life Of Agony, Sal Abruscato founded his own band, A Pale Horse Named Death, where he mostly continues late Peter Steele’s work: the poignant, depressive and melancholic Doom Metal with deep lyrics, full of desperation and self-hate. In the beginning of 2019 the band released their third album with quite prophetic title, When The World Becomes Undone, and now, two years later, here comes the next release, Infernum In Terra.

Needless to say that Infernum In Terra has everything what Doom and Gothic Metal fans are looking for: heaviness, depression and sullenness, they present in every single note here. However in this album A Pale Horse Named Death deliver it in much more diversely than before. “The last record was a little bit of a rushed job of material that I had sitting around for a while,” notes Sal. “What I like about this record is that we have fresh artwork, a fresh outlook and all the songs were written last year. I brought in a lot more instrumentation in terms of tubular, orchestral bells and a piano, and things that support the heavy guitars. I like making the records as cool as possible. I don’t worry about being able to do things live, I just do what sounds right and what sounds good.”

There are nine songs in this album, an interlude “It’s Done”, which sounds more like a prayer with somber church bells and an atmospheric intro “Infernum”, corresponds fully with its name. The first track, “Believe In Something (You Are Lost)” gives everything what was expected from the band: slow guitar riff and sad main melody, where some Paradise Lost and let’s say Alice In Chains echoes can be found. By the way, the first single “Reflections Of The Dead” with great, memorable chorus reminds Paradise Lost as well, not only with the gloomy atmosphere but with the music too and only Sal’s vocal turn the listener back from Halifax to New York.

A heavy and slow paced, almost Sludgy “Cast Out From The Sky” is based around Chris Hamilton’s interesting drum pattern. There are some heavy guitars and melancholic vocals but still the drums are the main instrument here. But in the end, when it’s only guitar and piano remain in the song, they change the atmosphere radically; that’s the devil in details.

“Shard Of Glass” reminds Type O Negative and classic Doom, which was played by Black Sabbath at the same time (even vocals remind Ozzy here a little bit). The same happens in “Two Headed Snake (Propofol Dreams)” and “Devil’s Deed”, heavy songs with great solos from Eddie Heedles and Joe Taylor. The last one has also a catchy chorus.

Impressive “Licifer’s Son” explores the biblical theme, which is unconventional for the band. That’s what Sal himself tells about it: “[…], but I backed off from writing every song about manic depression, self-loathing and suicidal thoughts! Unfortunately I’m a natural at it, because it’s a curse that I have. It was a little unintentional, but a couple of the new songs came out with a more Biblical theme, with stories like the fall of Lucifer. One song is about my experience of being put under anesthesia. It was like being in another world – it felt like I slept for days, but it was only 20 minutes, you know? So there’s some new ideas, and some things about personal stuff and family stuff. I just didn’t make every song about personal torment.”

And the album ends with very atmospheric and really sorrowful “Soul In The Abyss” with great piano, wind blowing and some unnatural sounds with melancholic music.

Well, for the last 12 years A Pale Horse Named Death established firmly in their Gothic/Doom niche, releasing really good albums, even with big gaps between them. But Infernum In Terra, in comparison to its predecessors is a real step forward for the band, which managed to improve their sound without sacrificing anything. So if you are already deep into autumn depression or the contemplation of the outside world gives only sad thoughts, this album is for you. Turn it on. It’s not gonna get any easier but this is what you really need on point.

Infernum In Terra will be released on September, 24th via Long Branch Records/SPV.

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