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CD Review: Horseback - "The Invisible Mountain"

A 38-minute, four-track epic of krautrock, stoner metal, and art-house freak show

The Invisible Mountain
Relapse Records

Equal parts krautrock, stoner metal, and art-house freak show, this sprawling, 38-minute, four-track epic challenges and delights as it vacillates between tortured, ethereal atmospherics and throbbing, druggy drones. The former are driven by Mellotron-like keyboards and Jenks Miller’s delicate acoustics and crystalline, echo-drenched electrics treated with trance-inducing tremolo (“Hatecloud Dissolving into Nothing”), while the latter are powered by Miller’s menacingly overdriven SGs and Les Pauls (played through old Vox and Fender amps), fuzzed-out basses, and throbbing drums (“Tyrant Symmetry”). Instrumentally, it’s like Sabbath, Sleep, Soundgarden, and the lighter elements of Scandinavian metal taken with a cocktail of Ambien and Dr. Leery’s favorite hallucinogenic. Guttural, lo-fi, and incomprehensible, the vocals sound like the lamentations of an insane, bitter sociopath complaining from the confines of his padded cell in hell. Thankfully, the mad musings are accompanied by enrapturing layers of melodic melancholy that hint at the damned soul’s once-beautiful potential. Just barely too palatable to be the soundtrack to E. Elias Merhige’s Begotten.