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Horseback: Half Blood

Half Blood is my first encounter with Horseback, the musical project of Jenks Miller, a busy musician who has several projects and also works as a producer and mixer of other people's music. I was impressed with the atmospheric quality Miller creates on this album, though it took several listens before I began to develop a good feel for it. This isn't traditional heavy metal or Death metal by any means, but is an eclectic mixture of sound, texture, and mood, all of which work together to create a sleepy, drone-like experience. I suppose it's appropriate that I listened to Half Blood on a long flight from Utah to Massachusetts as I drifted in and out of sleep. This album didn't put me to sleep, but it did create an interesting soundscape for me as I struggled to relax. It made for a good listen, though I would recommend that interested listeners give the album a chance to grow on them--it isn't the kind of recording that is trying to grab one's attention all in one blast.

As I listened to Half Blood, I thought a great deal about the spiritual connections between the song titles and the music. Many of the songs--"Mithras," "Ahriman," "Arjuna," and others are drawn from Hinduism. Others, "Hermetic Gifts," for example, speak to a broader concept of spiritual enlightenment, one that is tied to ancient mysteries and often esoteric wisdom. Whatever Miller's intensions, the song's provide very little clue as to their larger message. The vocals, such as they are, are mostly a subtle growl that lingers in the background, right next to the slow chord changes and the droning electronic sounds. In any event, I enjoyed the listening experience of Half Blood and didn't mind reflecting on what the music meant to me. My favorite tracks on this release are the three part cycle "Hallucigenia," particularly the aforementioned "Hermetic Gifts." I'd recommend these tunes to listeners as a good introduction to Horseback's sound. If they grab your attention, then stick around, there may be more to discover here.

Track Listing:
1. Mithras
2. Ahriman
3. Inheritance (The Changeling)
4. Arjuna
5. Hallucigenia I: Hermetic Gifts
6. Hallucigenia II: Spiritual Junk
7. Hallucigenia III: The Emerald Tablet

Added: April 19th 2012
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Myspace Page
Hits: 2033
Language: english

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