A Horse Called War We Ain't Proud Of This

Sun 17th December 2006


/incoming/ahorsecalledwar.jpgStrike a light! A UK sludge band that don't just rip Iron Monkey off blind! Who'da thunk it?!

On first listen this meaty little four tracker is easily one of the finest new arrivals on the Sludge scene for some time, arguably as a result of their refusal to follow the standard IM tribute band route. A Horse Called War combine elements of some of Britain's finest heavy bands - Lazarus Blackstar, the ubiquitous IM and Charger most prevalently - into a particularly nasty 16 minutes and 50 seconds, belching out downtuned, doom-tinged antipathy with fiery, uptempo stomp-alongs aplenty.

Rather unfortunately, however, after you listen to the demo a few more times a rather unpleasant realisation hits you: They don't sound like an Iron Monkey rehash coz they're far too busy pretending to be the afore mentioned Stoke-based fuzzbastards Charger...

Now anyone with any understanding of my listening habits will know that I absolutely fucking love Charger so this is certainly not a criticism per se but the second half of this demo in particular is pretty much just a slightly rejigged combination of several passages from Charger's Peaceville released 'Confessions of a Man (Mad Enough to Live Amongst Beasts)' full lengther. The doomy, bass and feedback ending to demo closer 'Cry Havoc' being particularly guilty of this considering it's almost note perfect to the pseudo-spoken word middle section from 'God Made Us In The Image Of His Ass' which, once you've noticed it, is so obvious as to get really rather irritating.

Having now raised this point, however, I would make pains to remind everyone (myself included) that at the end of the day, plagiarism is far from uncommon nowadays and is often just a stage in the development of a band as they find they're own direction. Sludge as a genre is somewhat limited in its scope for experimentation and unlike many other bands out there (Out For Blood spring readily to mind here) at least A Horse Called War can hold your interest for more than the first five minutes and regardless of how many of the riffs displayed here you've heard before, they're still fucking belting riffs so you can't complain too loudly...

The press release that accompanied the demo states that A Horse Called War will be reentering the studio early in 2007 to record a new five track EP proper, let's hope that the promise (and impressively mighty sound) on display here are combined with a bit more individuality as with some work I think these boys could well be capable of great things and if nothing else, this'll keep me sated until Charger manage to get 'Spill Your Guts' released next march...


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