In November 2019 Magnetic Eye Records celebrated its first decade of existence by hosting the “Day of Doom” label showcase at Brooklyn’s Saint Vitus Bar. That event featured nine bands on the label’s roster performing back-to-back, and the four headline sets were captured live by engineer Chris Johnson (Deafheaven, Summoner). On December 11th, Magnetic Eye will release those recordings in a series of four records entitled Day of Doom Live, each one devoted to the headlining shows from a year ago at Saint Vitus Bar.
The bands featured in the series are Elephant Tree, Domkraft, Summoner, and the Australian sludge-metal destroyers in Horsehunter, whose discography includes two full-lengths so far, 2014’s Caged In Flesh and their self-titled album released in 2019. Today we present one of the live tracks from Horsehunter’s Day of Doom Live release, and it proves that the band are just as devastating live as they are on their studio recordings — maybe more so.
The song performed here is “Nuclear Rapture“, which appeared on Horsehunter’s most recent, self-titled album. It’s a 13 1/2 minute world-ender, a pulverizing and mind-mutilating vision of ultimate extinction.
As is true of Horsehunter’s music in general, the song unfolds in multiple movements, and the changes will keep you vibrating on the edge of your seat. At the outset, the whine of feedback paves the way for jittery, rapid-fire fretwork, bone-breaking bass tumult, skull-cracking drumwork, and rabid, howling vocals. As the rhythm section continue to shake the earth and bend your neck the melody slithers like a menacing python and shivers in the fever of agony.
When the band downshift the momentum, the music becomes a lurching monster that radiates devastation and decay, though the vocals remain absolutely incinerating. The devolution continues: Against a measured drum pattern, the bass creates a dirge as the guitar moans and wails, and the song continues digging a deep trough of abandonment and hopelessness, almost becoming as silent as the grave. Spectral guitar reverberations create diseased and discomfiting sensations, but they nevertheless have a narcotic effect on the mind.
Those throat-splitting vocals, crying out in spine-tingling displays of intensity, lead the song in its gradual crawl back toward greater devastation. The riffing simmers and then boils in a semblance of madness, with the bassist shaking the earth and the razor-sharp drummer doing his best to methodically beat listeners black and blue. The soloing that then follows is hallucinatory, and eventually spectacular. At last, the music stomps and vibrates again, in a death march toward a gaping maw of apocalyptic horror — and then devolves into mind-mutilating feedback, a final vision of utter despair.
We’ll share this comment from Horsehunter guitarist Dan Harris about “Nuclear Rapture“:
“The song was one of those tracks that came together pretty quickly (probably in a single rehearsal) and on which everyone made their contribution. At that point, Mike [guitarist/vocalist Michael Harutyunyan] and I were catching up regularly to work on material for the second album and we had come up with two semi-connected ideas, one mid-paced and the other a little faster. They were going more in the direction of songs like “Witchery” on our first album, but when we started to play through them in rehearsal, the doomier elements from the first half of that album started to emerge too.
“We didn’t really plan it out initially, it was just one idea coming after another in a more or less improvisational fashion. There wasn’t really much need at first for anyone to dictate what was coming next or who should play what. Somehow, we managed to stay on the same page, and by the end of the rehearsal, after a bit of reflection and refinement, we had a basic structure. It then took approximately a year to decide who was going to do the solo.”
Magnetic Eye will release all of the Day of Doom Live records on variant vinyl LP editions and in a digisleeve CD editions, and there will also be a 4-CD Hardcover Artbook that includes all four live albums from Horsehunter, Elephant Tree, Domkraft, and Summoner. Check out the options via the link below:
HORSEHUNTER TRACK LIST:
1. Bring Out Yer Dead (live)
2. Nuclear Rapture (live)
3. Witchery (live)
4. Stoned to Death (live)