Pale Horse - Until the Last Seal is Opened

Bombworks Records


As the new releases from Bombworks Records continue to roll out, one of the newest to be heard is a band from New Jersey called Pale Horse.  This album, Until the Last Seal is Opened, is actually a collection of all of the old Pale Horse material.  While it's being reported that the band will be recording again in the future, this gives metal fans a chance to hear the band in its early stages.
I had never had the chance to hear Pale Horse before I received this disc, and while I knew they had a good following, I wasn't getting my hopes too high.  After my first listen, I was pleasently surprised.  The band plays a good mixture of death and doom metal, with some thrash influences.  While this is old school stuff, the band hammers out some pretty interesting material.  I'd recommend this to anyone into stuff like early Mortification, Vengeance Rising, or Seventh Angel.
The musicianship here is pretty solid and musically the band dishes out some very brutal stuff.  At times, sludging along at a slow and drawn-out pace and at times galloping along at a much faster pace.  The band seems to be at home at any speed they attempt, whether doomy or chaotic.  Regardless of the speed, the sound is always powerful and forceful.  And to top it off, you even get a guitar solo now and then.
One thing I would suggest when listening to this disc for the first time...start at track number seven.  Oh don't worry, tracks one through six are all good tracks, but I just really dig tracks seven through thirteen.  The first six were hard to get into at first for some reason, but once track seven kicked in, I was hooked.  So, I tried it.  For three straight days, I popped the CD in and went to track seven first.  I listened through to the end and then went back to one through six.  Amazing, tracks one through six sound better being at the end than at the first.  Maybe I'm just weird, but it worked for me.  The only tracks that suffer somewhat are tracks 14 and 15.  They are the same songs as tracks 12 and 13 ("Bitter Fruits" and "Resurrectionist"), but they are unmixed and therefore suffer in the sound department.  Thankfully, they are at the end of the disc and the first 13 songs sound much better.
Vocally, Pale Horse does a commendable job.  They stick with mostly death growls while mixing in a few screams and decent clean vocals.  At times the vocals remind me of very early Mortification (Break the Curse-era), only with a little more of a deeper growl.  But this is only the case on certain songs.  So don't get scared away if you don't like Mort's early vocals.
Since this is only a promo, I won't have comments on the packaging or lyrics until I get the finished product.  All I can say is that I'm very surprised that this band was never signed back in the day.  They easily could've competed with the heavy weights of the early days in Christian metal.  I guess it's just how the chips fall sometimes.  At least now the band is finally getting a chance to be heard by more than a handful of people.  (Review by Matt)