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Dead Horse - Peaceful Death & Pretty Flowers
Review: Taking from thrash the concept of brief abrupt songs which mutate thematic riffs in viral refinement to articulate each song as a poetic whole, dead horse made from death metal a form of progressive music that transcends its genre through use of multiple popular styles in a theory all its own. Outside of the mismanaged schizophrenia of mainstream "postmodern" bands like Mr. Bungle here you can find highly integrated theory in distinctive progressive compositions.
An overall sense of melody both sets the initial themes for riffs and the forces of their evolution as each song evolves, but more importantly through a intelligent awareness of spatial harmony diligently articulates moods in a poetic, nihilistic evolution. Like small classical pieces, these works unfold from a dominant concept to its explication, growth and restatement; in the same way each riff represents a motif that evolves toward its expression and thus transfer of listener focus to a larger pattern, each song creates a larger concept of its ideas as a whole.
Bands this compositionally talented rarely also have the benefit of technically skilled players, but here each segment of music-making is well-executed with unique flavor and understanding for the art. Percussion uses creative fills and a painter's approach to tempo for effect in conjunction with an inventive and versatile melodic bass; vocals match rhythm guitar in exactness of timbre and placement. Lead guitar adjusts the finest details of this art with careful mood influence through intensely lyrical and tonally-experimental playing. Vocals are sung-shouted in a cross between James Hetfield and Kurt Cobain, or they are in a seizure of death growls.
In the mind of a consumer, the music of dead horse is a paradox, in that it hides so well its varied styles (jazz, blues, pop, country, rock) in a coherent aesthetic that it may not seem to be as far ahead of the rest as it is. Every generation has a handful of great creators, and for the transition from thrash to death metal this band were considered innovative for their diverse mix of influences, but what has retained their viability is the clear and distinctive voice that will always be uniquely dead horse.