It’s a metal-lectric onslaught! Lightening speed metal has a tendency to just race ahead like a naked, blindfolded tweaker on East Colfax. While Horse the Band’s debut The Mechanical Hand definitely has its tweaky moments, it also has a recognizable mastery of the breakdown, and the build.
Erik Engstrom’s keys tend to override the rest of the instrumentation, which is more than a bit disappointing. It reminds us of the long-awaited Cripples album in that sense; but at least with Horse, this is not omnipresent. For instance, on “Manateen,” the keys are restrained; drummer Eli Green presents his rhythmic intricacies, and Nathan Winneke gets to show off his ability to actually sing (both with and without the intensity of Stanley Kubrick’s rage when Mick Garris made a TV mini-series out of Stephen King’s: The Shining).
There are some unintentional comedic, high-pitched guitar screams at ‘just the wrong’ places, but there is a saving grace to The Mechanical Hand. It lets up just when you are about to scream, “Uncle!” and dives into Mars Volta moments of deep concentration. This is not for everyone, but those who dig the neo-metal style Horse is going for (for instance, Dillinger Escape Plan fans) will eat this up.