Review & Track Premiere: Horseburner, The Thief

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on July 29th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

horseburner the thief

[Click play above to stream ‘Drowning Bird’ from Horseburner’s The Thief. Album is out Aug. 9 on Ripple Music.]

Though the inherent energy of their material and the fact that they’re newly signed to Ripple Music read otherwise, West Virginia’s Horseburner are not actually a new band. They played their first show just over a decade ago, and released two EPs before making such a splash with their 2016 full-length debut, Dead Seeds, Barren Soil (review here). That album was picked up for release through Hellmistress Records and subsequent touring and response led to the Ripple signing ahead of The Thief, their second LP and label debut. It’s worth mentioning not only for basic background, because when one listens to The Thief front-to-back, Horseburner‘s chemistry is not that of a new band.

While they recently parted ways with guitarist Zach Kaufman and brought in Matt Strobel to take on the role alongside guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist Jack Thomas, drummer/vocalist Adam Nohe and bassist Seth Bostick, the lineup that appears on the nine-song/46-minute The Thief feels wholly solidified in its songwriting approach, taking cues from modern progressive metal, NWOBHM and shades of traditional doom. Thomas‘s vocals remind here and there of Butch Balich‘s work in Argus — thinking of songs like “A Joyless King” and the later “Fathoms,” but it’s a comparison one might make elsewhere too, and not a comparison made lightly — and the winding course of riffing over which he and Nohe harmony-shout is reminiscent of the likes of Leviathan-era Mastodon in its hard edge and obviously considered composition.

Across intense pieces like “Drowning Bird” and “The Fisherman’s Vow,” they manifest crunch and gallop in kind and still set up a smooth-moving flow within and between the songs. It’s fast, and it’s a lot to keep up with, but that’s the idea, and when Horseburner are at a sprint, as on “Hand of Gold, Man of Stone” (premiered here), the effect is righteously head-spinning. Movements within songs mesh well together and take shape as verses and choruses, and as its two-minute titular introduction, and the likewise-timed centerpiece “Seas Between” and closer “Thiefsong” weave an acoustic-based thread throughout all the heft, the feeling of a masterplan at work becomes all the more prevalent.

If Horseburner are telling a story here — and they may or may not be; I haven’t had the benefit of a lyric sheet — then it’s one that sets up across intricately conceived chapters that balance indulgence and creative will against sheer impact of groove, “A Joyless King,” “Drowning Bird” and “The Fisherman’s Vow” separated by “Seas Between” from the side B salvo “Hand of Gold, Man of Stone,” “The Oak” and “Fathoms.” The underlying modus doesn’t necessarily change between the two sections — in fact, I’d argue The Thief is best enjoyed on a linear format so as to get the whole effect of “Seas Between” as the centerpiece without having to worry about a side flip as one would on vinyl — but flourish of proggy guitar interplay and keyboard in “The Oak” and the fact that “Fathoms” is the only song on the record to top eight minutes does speak to a certain amount of branching out, though there’s no question that in the case of the latter, its position as the full-album payoff is purposeful as well.

 

HORSEBURNER new lineup

One imagines that if Horseburner didn’t already know it when they were writing the song, it quickly became clear in the recording process that “Fathoms” would close out ahead of “Thiefsong,” such is the thump with which it lands and the heights to which it soars in its finishing, solo-topped sway. That puts further emphasis on the flow that’s been happening all along throughout The Thief, as all the more it seems “A Joyless King” and “Drowning Bird” are meant to draw the listener into the varied but linear whole-album progression. The short version is it works, and with deceptive subtlety, because as they’re setting up this linear motion, Horseburner are also bashing and crashing through killer chug and hairpin-turn rhythms, stomping through headbang-ready heavy parts and adding more than hints of nuance to deepen the proceedings beyond what might otherwise be “cool riffs, bro.”

Nothing against that, understand, but The Thief is on a different and more complex mission, and the band bear that out in the means by which they maintain both the thoughtfulness of the material and the conversation they’re having with their audience here. Because whatever layering there might be between Thomas‘s keys and guitar, the recording itself is geared toward capturing a live setting. With so much vitality, it could hardly be otherwise. Tracked at Amish Electric Chair Studios and Green Mist Studios respectively by Neil Tuuri (who also mixed) and Thomas himself, there’s no lack of clarity in the offering, and even the most distorted, driving moments have a crispness to them that speaks further to the band’s will to actively engage their listenership, but the balance with raw energy across The Thief‘s span is striking, and it’s exactly that engagement that’s the reason why.

Horseburner want you to get into this album. They make it plain. The Thief is the output of a band who’ve been around for 10 years, have gotten their shit together, built up some momentum and decided to make a real push at having an impact. They sound hungry more than angry, but most of all they sound ready, and that’s true in the brief quiet interlude in “The Fisherman’s Vow” as much as in the fist-pumping early dual-guitar theatrics and subsequent all-out start-stop crunch of “The Oak.” The only question is what that engagement is leading to? If, after 10 years as a band, Horseburner want to hit the road and make a go of selling full-color t-shirts to various US and eventually European cities, I have no doubt in my mind they could pull that off in a fashion that’s at least no more or less sustainable than anyone else doing the same. Time will tell what their goals ultimately are and whether or not they get there, but most importantly, The Thief is a resonant announcement of their arrival, and that is not at all to be missed.

Horseburner website

Horseburner on Thee Facebooks

Horseburner on Bandcamp

Horseburner on Instagram

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Ripple Music website

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Horseburner Set Aug. 9 Release for The Thief; Tour Dates Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

horseburner

Yeah, I’ve got it on now and this one’s pretty sick. Like, gonna-be-on-a-lot-of-lists sick. Maybe mine. Horseburner will make their debut on Ripple Music with The Thief and they’ve already got shows booked into November to support it, so that’s nifty, but listening to the album, it’s got stomper riffs and modern prog metal inflection galore in its winding guitar lines and not-at-all-overplayed drums, taking a cue from the Mastodons of the world without, well, sucking, I guess. It can be a fine line to walk, but Horsebuner would seem to have found the balance between nuance and groove and melody in these tracks that, yes, will be very well received. Bandcamp’s gonna go apeshit for this one. I hope Ripple has an ample supply.

I’m gonna try to set up another track premiere — the first one was here back in March — to go with a review a proper review, but in the meantime, here’s some info from the PR wire:

horseburner the thief

HORSEBURNER: Hard Hitting Road/Riff Merchants Return With New Album + Tour Dates

The Thief by Horseburner is officially released on 9th August on Ripple Music

Pre-order the album now at www.ripple-music.com

Together since 2008 and borne from the wild Appalachian green of West Virginia, Horseburner has never cowered from hard toil. From performing their first live show, self-recording and releasing two EPs (2009’s Dirt City and Strange Giant in 2013), putting on an inaugural tour in 2011 and releasing their debut full-length album, Dead Seeds, Barren Soil in 2016, the band has quite simply, done it all themselves.

Having played hundreds of shows over the past decade, performing alongside acts such as Torche, Weedeater, Goatwhore, Obituary, Corrosion of Conformity, The Obsessed, Karma to Burn and Bell Witch, in 2017 the band reissued their debut album through Hellmistress Records, which quickly reignited that song writing/recording flame, resulting in the gift of new music.

This year, as well as hitting the road for a monster Summer/Fall Tour of the US, the band join forces with Ripple Music, the California-based record label and world leader in Heavy Rock, Stoner, Doom and Heavy Psych to bring you the hard rocking yield of that fruitful and inspired year. The official worldwide release of their brand-new album, The Thief. As the band explains:

“We are thrilled to finally be putting out new music after almost three years and several member changes, and we can’t wait for people to hear, ‘Hand of Gold, Man of Stone’. It was the first song we finished for this new album, and we think it really sets the tone for what’s to come this summer when the full album is released. It’s loud, it’s aggressive, it’s a little weird… It’s also the shortest song. Brevity has never been our strong suit, but there is a much larger story waiting to be told, and this song is just one chapter. We’re even more excited to be teaming up with Ripple Music for the new record. We love so many bands on their roster, it’s such a well curated label. We’re honored to be joining the Ripple Family, and honestly, that’s what it feels like, a family.”

TRACK LISTING:
1. The Thief
2. A Joyless King
3. Drowning Bird
4. The Fisherman’s Vow
5. Seas Between
6. Hand of Gold Man of Stone
7. The Oak
8. Fathoms
9. Thiefsong

LIVE DATES (MORE DATES TBC):
2/8 – Richmond, VA – Wonderland
3/8 – Beckley, WV – Melody’s
23/8 – Athens, OH – Casa
24/8 – Youngstown, OH – Westside Bowl
25/8 – Cleveland, OH – Grog Shop
27/8 – Canton, OH – Buzzbin
5/9 – Huntington, WV – V Club
6/9 – Johnson City, TN – Hideaway
7/9 – Charlotte, NC – Skylark
8/9 – Jacksonville, FL – Jack Rabbits
9/9 – Miami, FL – Las Rosas
11/9 – Savannah, GA – El Rocko
12/9 – Athens, GA – Caledonia Lounge
27/9 – Toronto, ON – Bovine Sex Club
5/10 – Pittsburgh, PA – Gooski’s
6/10 – Buffalo, NY – Electric Avenue
7/10 – Saratoga Springs, NY – Desperate Annie’s
11/10 – Brooklyn, NY – The Well
12/10 – Wilmington, DE – Oddity Bar
13/10 – Baltimore, MD – The Depot
29/11 –Marietta, OH – Adelphia

HORSEBURNER:
Adam Nohe – Drums, Vocals, Percussion
Jack Thomas – Guitar, Vocals, Keys
Seth Bostick – Bass
Zach Kaufman – Guitar

https://www.horseburner.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Horseburner/
https://horseburner.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/horseburner/
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

Horseburner, “Hand of Gold, Man of Stone”

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Horseburner Premiere “Hand of Gold, Man of Stone”; Announce The Thief on Ripple Music

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on March 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

horseburner

It’s a time of change for West Virginian riffers Horseburner. A decade into their run and after releasing their incredibly well received debut, Dead Seeds, Barren Soil (review here), on their own in 2016 and through Hellmistress Records in 2017, the band are getting ready to bid farewell to guitarist Zach Kaufman following some final dates together as part of their Spring tour, most of which will feature StonecuttersNick Burks in that role alongside guitarist/vocalist Jack Thomas, bassist Seth Bostick and drummer/vocalist Adam Nohe.

At the same time, Horseburner have signed to Ripple Music and are newly unveiling the single “Hand of Gold, Man of Stone” taken from their upcoming second album, The Thief, which will be their first outing for the label. In a sharply-edged five minutes, the song burns horses and barns alike with heroic guitar lines and vocal harmonies drawn from modern progressive metallurgy, but manages as well to hold tight to an underlying groove and build in energy while touching on vibes as much NWOBHM as they are noise rock, the two-guitar dynamic and two-vocal dynamic working in concert to make the track unpredictable despite the solid rhythmic foundation on which it rests — or, when one considers the tempo, doesn’t at all rest.

Already confirmed for Grim Reefer Fest in Baltimore and New England Stoner & Doom Fest in Jewett City, Connecticut — with 40,000 other bands, apparently — Horseburner bring precise execution and weighted tones to bear with motion and largesse in like measure. Through clear production and intent, they would seem to be poised to bring their stamp to the pastiche of modern heavy, and if the purpose of an advance single is to pique interest, “Hand of Gold, Man of Stone” is mission accomplished.

Kudos to the band and to Ripple on the signing. The PR wire brings a full update and you’ll find the premiere of “Hand of Gold, Man of Stone” at the bottom of this post.

Enjoy:

horseburner-hand-of-gold-man-of-stone

HORSEBURNER: West Virginian Heavy Stoner Metalists To Release New Album ‘THE THIEF’ with Ripple Music; Share New Song “Hand Of Gold, Man Of Stone” & Announce U.S. Spring Tour

Together since 2008, borne from the wild Appalachian green of West Virginia, HORSEBURNER has never cowered from hard toil. From their first live show performed, a first EP ‘Dirt City’ self-released in 2009, an initial tour in 2011, to a second EP 7” ‘Strange Giant’ in 2013, and right up to a debut full-length ‘Dead Seeds, Barren Soil’ in 2016, it’s all been DIY and self-released.

They’ve played hundreds of shows over the past decade, alongside such acts as Torche, Weedeater, Skeletonwitch, Goatwhore, Obituary, Corrosion of Conformity, The Obsessed, Karma to Burn, Prong, Byzantine, Cough, ASG, Rosetta, and Bell Witch. In 2017, the band altered their DIY stride with a reissue of their full-length through Hellmistress Records and reignited their flame with writing and recording new music during 2018.

Horseburner continues to step up the pace in 2019, with a recent signing with RIPPLE MUSIC to release their sophomore full-length, ‘THE THIEF’, later this year, as well as the announcement of a U.S. Spring Tour. To introduce the upcoming album, a new song is being released today – “Hand of Gold, Man of Stone” off the upcoming album ‘The Thief.’

The band’s reaction to the new venture:
“We are thrilled to finally be putting out new music after almost three years and several member changes, and we can’t wait for people to hear “Hand of Gold, Man of Stone.” It was the first song we finished for this new album, and we think it really sets the tone for what’s to come this summer when the full album is released. It’s loud, it’s aggressive, it’s a little weird… It’s also the shortest song. Brevity has never been our strong suit, but there is a much larger story waiting to be told, and this song is just one chapter. We’re even more excited to be teaming up with Ripple Music for the new record. We love so many bands on their roster, it’s such a well curated label. We’re honored to be joining the Ripple Family, and honestly, that’s what it feels like, a family. “

Some excitement from Todd Severin of Ripple Music:
“It’s not that often that a band comes by and just blows my mind, but Horseburner is one of them. They’re taking the raw soul of stoner and taking it in fresh, exciting new directions. The sky is the limit for where these guys will soar.”

The band also shares some words about the upcoming tour:
“We’re definitely ready to be back on the road, as well. We haven’t been out there as much as we like to this past year, and we’re ready to throw off the rust and see some new faces. We’re hitting a few places for the first time ever, and returning to some old favorites, so this will be a good time.

On top of all that, we’ve got one of our best pals, Nick Burks from Louisville’s Stonecutters, filling in on guitar for the April tour and some of the May dates, it’s going to be killer. Then with Zach’s exit from the band, and him doing a handful of farewell shows before he leaves for good… having Zach’s last show with us in Columbus, Ohio in May – ten years from our first ever show, which was also in Columbus – bittersweet is definitely one way to put it.”

horseburner-tour-spring-2019U.S. Spring Tour Dates:
March 22 – Huntington, WV @ V Club (w/ Cavern, Embracer, Signals)
March 23 – Johnson City, TN @ The Hideaway (w/ Indighost, Haal)
*April 12 – Detroit, MI @ The Fireside (w/ Gear Jammer, Black Heiron)
*April 13 – Toronto, ONT @ The Bovine Sex Club (w/ Ol’ Time Moonshine, Jahgernaut, Quiet Earth)
*April 14 – Buffalo, NY @ Mohawk Place (w/ Malarchuk, Yanari, Tines)
*April 15 – Saratoga Springs, NY @ Desperate Annie’s for Super Dark Monday (w/ Ghastly Sound, The Tenants)
*April 16 – Winooski, VT @ The Monkey House (w/ Ghastly Sound, Wolfhand, Sachem)
*April 17 – Bangor, ME @ Downunder Club (w/ Ghastly Sound, + more)
*April 18 – Boston, MA @ OBrien’s (w/ VOS, Greylock)
*April 19 – Brooklyn, NY @ The Well (w/ Godmaker, + more)
*April 20 – Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar for Grim Reefer Fest (w/ Ruby the Hatchet, Heavy Temple, Haze Mage, Mountainwolf, Book of Wyrms, YATRA, Tombtoker)
May 3 – Pottsville, PA @ Goodfellas (w/ 44 Mag, Brain Candle, The Hands Resist, Faith in Exile) *Playing as a trio*
*May 4 – Jewett City, CT @ Altone’s for New England Stoner Doom Fest (w/ Stonecutters, Brimstone Coven, + 40,000 bands)
*May 5 – Washington, D.C. @ Atlas Brew Works (w/ Stonecutters, Dirt Eater)
May 17 – Parkersburg, WV @ The Dils Center (w/ Lo-Pan, Louts, + more)
May 18 – Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups (Zach’s last show!)

*Nick Burks from Stonecutters on Guitar

Horseburner:
Adam Nohe – Drums/Vocals
Jack Thomas – Guitar/Vocals
Seth Bostick – Bass
Zach Kaufman – Guitar

https://www.horseburner.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Horseburner/
https://horseburner.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/horseburner/
https://twitter.com/horseburner
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://twitter.com/RippleMusic
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

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