Horse’s Neck – a cocktail comprised of brandy/bourbon, ginger ale and usually garnished with a lemon peel. Horseneck – a Californian quartet comprised of current and past members of Will Haven and Chelsea Wolfe. What do these two things have in common? They both provide an ample kick in the ass; one by way of alcohol, the other by way of heavy-hitting songs.
Horseneck‘s debut full-length release and proper follow up to their 2013 Belly Full of Blood EP, Heavy Trip, is the kind of record that gets listeners drunk off of heavy riffs. The band’s sound sees a head-on collision between hard rock, sludge and stoner metal. The album puts heavy emphasis on massive groove and infectious hooks, interjected its love for all things catchy into 10 head-bobbing tracks.
Tracks like “Bobby Brown”, “Lester Vitalis” and Basket of Snakes” showcase the band at their most ruthless. “Bobby Brown” comes crashing in like a collapsing building with burly, gritty sludge riffs and metallic bass lines, which are spearheaded by Anthony Paganelli’s throat-searing scream. “Lester Vitalis” harks back to the Belly Full of Blood days with its high-octane assaults of angular grooves and unpredictable rhythmic shifts. Hazy-eyed, galloping stoner beatdowns comprise the storming “Basket of Snakes, relentlessly pummeling the listener into the dirt.
Tracks like “Bird Worried” and “Hangman” stand out from the pack by retaining the band’s thrashing, sludgy sound, but incorporating different elements as well. “Bird Worried” conjures up some hard rocking, ZZ Top-meets-stoner metal riffs that groove along with a swaggering rhythm section and flashy, Hammond organ licks. Paganelli’s screams intertwine with Lance Jackman’s rock-fueled clean singing, and occasionally give way to cheesy (but the good kind of cheesy) wailing. “Hangman”, in contrast, is a little bit more downtrodden. Chunky riffs and groovy rhythms remain, but they are accompanied by interludes of jazz horns and bluesy, acoustic strumming.
Heavy Trip is fairly consistent in its rocking and rolling, but unfortunately there are some moments of drag. This is most notable in the track “P.A.G.”, which features a wealth of repetitive riffs that, while indeed heavy, do not build up to anything substantial. Sure, there’s a nifty Hammond solo towards the end, but it’s not enough to save the track from being a tad uneventful.
Overall, Horseneck deliver a catchy and heavy release that is extremely fun to listen to. The band’s rock-leaning sound could have easily fell into butt rock territory, but Horseneck avoid these pitfalls by balancing the hard rock with heavy, bruising sludge. Anyone looking to have a good time will be wise to check this release out.
Release Date: February 17, 2017
Favorite Tracks: “Michael Caine”, “Bobby Brown” and “Lester Vitalis”
For Fans Of: Lo-Pan, Clutch, Kylesa and Sweet Cobra