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A Pale Horse Named Death may be new to the American heavy metal music scene, but collectively, the band has its roots in metal.
“And Hell Will Follow Me” is the group’s debut album, was released on June 14. Though this is their first album, the band members are far from heavy metal novices.
Sal Abruscato is probably best known as the original drummer for Type O Negative, but also played in Life of Agony and Supermassiv. Abruscato, along with Type O Negative drummer Johnny Kelly — who was also with Seventh Void; Bobby Hambel formerly of Biohazard and Matt Brown formerly of Seventh Void, meld their melancholy metal together to form A Pale Horse Named Death.
Hambel plays guitar, as does Brown, while Abruscato sings and also plays guitar. Kelly plays drums and Morgan plays bass.
Through the years, Abruscato made his rounds in the music industry. Some of his previous experiences include being a co-founder of goth-metal band Type O Negative, which saw its popularity soar in the 90s.
Upon hearing that Abruscato is the songwriter, singer and guitarist of this band, some might believe that he wants creative control over the band and their music. This is not necessarily the case. Along with Abruscato, fellow band member Brown contributes to the songwriting.
“We are the murdering evil version of (John) Lennon and (Paul) McCartney (of the Beatles),” Abruscato said on the band’s website, regarding his relationship with Brown.
The first impression you get when you listen to this CD is that Abruscato is trying to sound like Type O Negative. This assumption may not be far from the truth considering he and Kelly both came from Type O. And like the band members previous bands, A Pale Horse Called Death fits into the heavy metal genre nicely.
Unlike other heavy metal bands, A Pale Horse uses sound effects to give their music a more ominous feel. For example, in the beginning of the song “Bad Dream,” you can hear wheels squeaking and a male voice screaming. Given the dark nature of the band, one can only imagine that he’s in a hospital or mental institution. The title track, “And Hell Will Follow Me,” is nothing but sound effects. You can hear a horse galloping toward you as it lets out an evil neigh, which consequently makes you want to run in the other direction. It sounds like something out of the movie, “Sleepy Hollow.”
The CD’s cover art is equally as unsettling. It features an emaciated horse with hollow eye sockets, walking through what appears to be water. The horse’s rib cage is showing and it’s surrounded by ravens — one of which is perched on the horse’s back. Naturally, there’s no color to the cover, it’s all black and white.
Music content of the CD is not explicit although it does hold more mature themes, such as drug use, hence the name of one of the tracks — “Heroin Train.” Murder and abduction is another theme the band touches on in their track, “Serial Killer.” Other track titles such as “Devil in the Closet,” “Bath in my Blood,” and “When Crows Descend Upon You” give you a clear picture of the dark content that A Pale Horse Named Death has conjured up.
There are not as many guitar solos as one would expect from a band like this, but the members work well together. Heavy metal is not as mainstream as it was in the late 80s and early-to-mid-90s, but with the efforts of bands like this, heavy metal may make a comeback. Overall, this is a good debut CD.
Garcia is a junior at Los Alamos High School.