The Ohio duo Horse Drawn can trace their origin back a dozen years. But both members — vocalist Bryce Seditz (Plaguewielder) and guitarist Jonny Doyle (Coldfells) have been involved in other musical projects, as well as dealing with the usual travails of daily life, and so haven’t been prolific in their output. They produced a pair of EPs in 2012, when the project was known as Horse Drawn Death Machine, and a 2015 demo named Wilted that was released after the change to their current name — and that’s been it, until today. Now, they’ve released a two-song EP named Nonbeliever as a prelude to recording a new album, and we’re helping spread the word through this post.
The EP consists of two songs. The first of them, “Cursed“, is a brand new track. The other, “Early Graves“, first appeared in a different form on one of those 2012 EPs, but has been re-recorded for this new EP. Both tracks, Horse Drawn say, take “inspiration from their Midwest origins, depression, psychedelic experiences, and the raw anger of American Black Metal”.
Horse Drawn dial up the intensity on “Cursed” after a momentous opening passage, which sounds like a martial fanfare for the commencement of war, surging into a pounding gallop amidst a swirl of chords that seem both fiery and downtrodden at the same time. Seditz‘s larynx-lacerating vocals seem capable of opening razor wounds in the skin all by themselves, adding further dimensions of pain and fury to the music. While the track is barely more than two minutes long, it’s still a dynamic experience. The music alternately slows to a punishing stomp animated by a bleak, raking riff and cannonade-like drum bursts, and closes again with a reprise of that imperious opening movement.
Doyle‘s guitar moans, groans, and shrieks in the utterly desolate and doom-stricken opening of “Early Graves“, and then the song takes off in a battering, bruising, jolting rush. But on this track Horse Drawn also deploy a rocking back-beat and a hook-laden buzzing riff that really gets the song stuck in a listener’s head. There’s something about the main melody in this track that also sounds exultant (even anthemic), and ultimately it becomes an electric torrent of whirlwind riffing and manic percussion, marking a sharp contrast with how the song began.
It’s not clear that this EP will be released separately, but it certainly should create significant interest in the return of Horse Drawn and in the new album that’s in the works.