Monday, 26 October 2015

Drowning Horse - 'Sheltering Sky' (Album Review)

By: Mike Wilcox

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 22/10/2015
Label: Art As Catharsis |
False Idol Records




I am brought back to why I listen to this kind of dirge: it taps into the static, that universal thrum, and serves as a meditation, a reprieve from the chaos and noise surrounding us.  A job extremely well done and I’ll have my eye on Perth’s Drowning Horse going forward, hoping that they continue to churn out the catharsis

‘Sheltering Sky’ CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). Dead River
2). Echoes
3). Cursed
4). Red Earth
5). The Barrow Stones
6). Black Waters
7). Dying Words
8). Sacrifice

The Review:


I’m writing this review while sitting at the mall to highlight a point.  It’s why we listen to this music.   It’s a meditation amid chaos. The mall is a hectic and annoying place.  Everything is washed with droning static when I start Drowning Horse’s ‘The Sheltering Sky’.  Atmospheric Drone Doom would be my pretentious tag for it.  Drowning Horse has that Steve Von Till/Neurosis vibe, that earth heavy feeling, a musical substance that you can feel.  With Drone/Doom soundscapes shaped and filled across the space of the album’s duration, the effect is complete mental static.  The album as a whole compliments itself in a sort of perpetual effort, building on itself; locking you into its groove and as a listener you become full immersed from the outset.

With the droning opening of ‘Dead River’, with its hollowed out raw sound blasts, I’m reminded of Sea of Bones, except with added elements and dynamic shifts.  No criticism to the former, more of a compliment to both.  With a natural segue between tracks the first four carry as a movement more than not.  There’s enough to pick apart for the riff savvy, but Drowning Horse create an overall sound that is pleasing to the avid doomer as well as the more Chelsea Wolfe inclined listeners.  Again, compliments to both.

‘The Barrow Stones’ is where The Sheltering Sky opens up.  In a sound that’s some unholy mix between Fister and Bong, Drowning Horse pulls you through soulless, numbing mud.  By the time ‘Black Waters’ opens and the drone hits, you’re nostalgic for the works of Sunn O))).  The word experimental would suggest that these guys don’t know what they’re doing.  They do, and it’s obvious.  ‘Dying Worlds’ reminds you that there are in fact vocals on this album.  A primal noise, more so; a guttural purge that blends into the music in such a way that an instrumental element is added.  It seems that the Australians know how to do this stuff really well.  These guys would get along well with Brisbane Blackened Doom outfit Hope Drone, I’m guessing. 

‘As Sacrifice’ takes the album out and as I am exiting the mall, I am brought back to why I listen to this kind of dirge: it taps into the static, that universal thrum, and serves as a meditation, a reprieve from the chaos and noise surrounding us.  A job extremely well done and I’ll have my eye on Perth’s Drowning Horse going forward, hoping that they continue to churn out the catharsis.


‘The Sheltering Sky’ is available here

FFO: Earth, Neurosis, Sunn O))), Bong, Fister

Band info: Official | Facebook | Bandcamp


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