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Whitehorse > Whitehorse > Reviews > Zombie_Quixote
Whitehorse - Whitehorse

Perfecting the archetype - 100%

Zombie_Quixote, June 11th, 2008

These men from Australia have simply blown me away. Their approach to the often archetypical death-doom genre is so damn right that I'm amazed that they don't get more recognition.

We all know the death-doom genre- love or loathe it you know it- popularized in the late 80s, early 90s by that fabled Peaceville trio, Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, and Anathema. And there were a collection of bands in the underground who played the style with success. It was death metal that crushed, pounded you with relentlessly slow riffs and thick bass, so much so that some of the early albums were nearly nauseating to listen to all the way through. There was a problem, a veritable unmoveable object in the way of the unstoppable force: the genre is hard to evolve. They tried incoporating classical, and folk, nuances to breathe life into their monster and though it worked for a time the genre insisted upon flat-lining. The respective bands each took their doom, and removed the death, becoming more melodic and driven by melancholy and heartache. And though My Dying Bride would later return to the brutal, while staying true to the beauty they added in mid-period releases, they never recovered the crush. In the mid 90s a band called Disembowelment came along and beat the shit out of the genre bringing in noise and grind influences. But the band was short-lived and soon split up. Funeral doom bands took the genre to new limits by slowing it down further and they're enjoyable, bringing a fresh that feeling of claustrophobia and naseua that death-doom first inspired. Earth and Sunn O))) on the backs of sheer bass and noise added their proverbial hat into the ring.

Then there's Whitehorse. A band which stands apart from all the others. You won't find violins or chanting choirs here. You won't find melancholy or anything that might be described as beautiful in Whitehorse. They sound like what we all imagined Disembowelment would become. They leave the guys from Sunn O))) scratching their heads in disbelief. They shift effortlessly from drone to pure crushing doom; they echo everything from black metal to death metal to noisecore to sludge to drone to funeral doom and beyond. They accentuate everything a metal-head should look for in a band, they're crushing, they're raw, and they're down-right dirty.

Their songs are long and probably not for the faint of heart, or ears for that matter. They often use the noise trick so often used by drone bands like Sunn O))), feedback that buzzes at first softly in the background, but builds up intensity through the course of the song until it's a headache inducing wall of sound emminating from your headphones or speakers. But unlike drone, that one bass riff in the background becomes only one facet of the song. The main pleasure- for the masochistic among us- derived from the band comes from the riff writing, which is brilliant. Fire to Light the Way is a perfect example of everything that makes this band so great. Its buzzing noise in the background layered with a riff that crushes and slams. The vocals delivered in a low grunt that, at times, suddenly break out into a shrill shriek. Arising from the noise comes a single melodic, slow, guitar solo that breaks down into a vibrating psuedo-black metal riff as the vocalist shrieks in an insect like wail. The process repeats but becomes louder and heavier as it goes into its second motion. It's easily one of the top ten death-doom songs ever written.

In semation: this band is all-out doom that should attract fans from bands like early My Dying Bride/Paradise Lost/Anathema; fans of Burzum should be pleased; fans of Khanate, Sunn O))) and Earth won't be let down; EyeHateGod and those of sludge ilk we invite you to writhe in the brilliance of Whitehorse.All are welcome to join the Whitehorse tour but it may be that by the end only the genres purists will remain to witness the climax. And they will not be disappointed.