Friday, October 24, 2008

Palehorse - 'Amongst the Flock'

[Behold! This review almost got me blacklisted from Bridge Nine Records, whom called me a "brokeback mountaineer" at the time.]

Despite the huge differences between modern hardcore and, say, nu-metal, there’s still a fine line to be walked. Though the ‘core-attuned may claim otherwise, it’s just as easy to sound like Drowning Pool as it is Bane. Unfortunately, the Connecticut-based hardcore band Palehorse, though they aim for the latter, tends to come off with all of the grace and depth of the former. I’m not even talking good Drowning Pool, either (a la “Bodies.” Don’t act like you don’t know the words). I’m leaning more towards shitty Drowning Pool (Remember “Stand Up?” The one that went, “If you wanna stand up (stand up!)?”).

Palehorse’s latest album is called Amongst the Flock, and the title couldn’t be more accurate. It’s just more of the same XtoughXguyX posturing. Though the power of the opening instrumental track, “St. Louis,” is undeniable and chock full o’ muscular thrash goodness, the album quickly devolves into crap. “Announcing the birth of a new order UHHHHH!” goes the title track (that last part was a growl… or maybe a bowel movement. I’m not sure). Frontman Vinny Calandra reveals his Metallica roots with lines like “New world order/They plan to kill you” and “Corporate police state/Will be our life sentence.” While this ditty could prove to be like catnip to nihilistic, mall-punk types, it will be sure to grate on the nerves of others, as the song wears out its shtick halfway through its slightly-over-three-minute mark.

“Amongst the Flock” is just the first in a volley of paranoid ramblings about the fall of American ideals (or something like that). “The 33rd Degree” speaks of the “corrupt bullshit government/The course now set/Armageddon is here/Greed, lust – nothing left.” If only, man. If only. “1948” takes the scare tactics even further, singing about politicians and their lust for war, and the media’s obsessions with “West Nile or AIDS.”

There’s a popular sticker/shirt/postcard sold at Hot Topic that bears the phrase, “You laugh at me because I’m different. I laugh because you’re all the same.” That pretty much sums up another theme of Amongst the Flock. “They exist to please the crowd/I will never be one of them,” goes “Bleed the Sheep.” The third theme, self-loathing and just generally being pissed off (how very Limp Bizkit), flows throughout tracks like “Consuming Me” and “Last Place.”

There is one good thing about Palehorse, though. The band can serve as a litmus test of sorts at local shows. Anyone moshing, thrashing, or, uh… “no bones-ing” to the songs off of Amongst the Flock can pretty much be labeled as “the asshole who’ll mosh to anything.” Have fun donkey kicking chicks in the face, guys. I hope you don’t beat your wives like that 10 years from now.

No comments: