New Zealand is a quiet little country that keeps to itself and avoids most worldwide conflicts; Hell, I can’t even recall a time where New Zealand has ever aggravated another country at all. Instead, the population would rather just agitate itself. With all that pent up frustration, it’s no wonder that the underground metal music scene in this country is able to unleash some totally brutal stuff. Spook the Horses are a little different, though, due to the fact that they are able to create a contrasting beauty to the dense, heavily distorted riffs on the album. The band describe themselves as “heavy post-rock”, which I believe is an apt definition of their sound. Sure, you could probably fit this band into a multitude of other sub-genres, but really, there’s no point arguing over this. It’s art – it doesn’t need a label or a definition, but I digress.
‘Brighter’ is a piece of art that relies on atmosphere to capture the attention of the listener. From the opening moment to the closing moment, you’ll notice that the band have truly created a powerful effort – one that is very cohesive and manages to work really well, and there’s not a single clumsy track to throw the listener off course. Spook the Horses have a sound that resembles work by bands such as Pelican, Cult of Luna and fellow New Zealand post-rock band, Jakob. The opening track, ‘Very Little is Certain, But… “, defines the sound of the album in its entirety: That is, crushing riffs, guitar leads that cry out to you in unison, a distorted bass rumbling amidst the chaos and drums that hypnotize you, dragging your body into this wall of noise. The more subdued songs on the album allow for contemplative moments, and give the listener a chance to come down from the intense parts of the album. It’s definitely welcome, and a nice touch. All the musicians on this album are tight, and just by listening to them, you can hear that they all had a like-minded approach to composition for this release. Band frontman, Callum Gay, does a convincing job as vocalist, showing that he is capable of performing both aggressive growls and very heartfelt clean vocals.
So, is there any negative aspect to the album? Of course not. ‘Brighter’ shows that you are able to create an obliterating sound, and you can cascade it in moments of sheer serenity without being pretentious. The album is sincere and shows that New Zealand can actually have good music that isn’t just dull, adult contemporary pop trash.
Visit the Spook the Horses Bandcamp page and buy a copy of ‘Brighter’ today!