San Antonio’s THUNDER HORSE have issued 3 long players, beginning with 2018’s eponymous affair & continuing with a sophomore effort entitled “Chosen One” in 2021 (Ripple also). They’ve now completed their first trifecta with “After The Fall,” my first encounter with their brand of southern-rocking doom metal. I have to say that based on this one, I’ll be getting on that horse & riding.
THUNDER HORSE are a 4-piece and they make full use of their guitar duo right off the bat. The thick, bludgeoning rhythm sound slams into action, powering the lumbering doom chords of the title cut. This continues with “The New Normal” and another very cool feature that comes to light is the lead axe tone on offer. I pondered examples of how to describe it and here’s one: You know that solo that Tipton does in “Victim Of Changes” after the mellow part? Those thick, liquidy streamers of heavy Strat tone? Yeah that’s it!
“After The Fall” is a nice, compact album. 8 songs, nothing overly long. After several listens, a few resonate particularly for me. “Monolith” is a tough-ass rocker with some personal “fight me” lyrics that remind me of the early Belladonna ANTHRAX aggression.
“The Other Side” may just be a shade over 2 minutes but it’s a terrific piece of dynamics between the texts of towering doom. There’s a little bit of ALICE IN CHAINS involved with the raw emotion and dark vibe.
Finally, though, the centerpiece for me is the 7th track, “Aberdeen.” Named after the place in Scotland (not Maryland ), it features one of the most riveting opening instrumental sections of the year, the guitar lead zooming in your ears & straight to your mind & heart. The song is super heavy yet melodically beautiful and serves as a wonderful lead-in to the final doom-laden track, “Requiem.”
Gotta say, Ripple has done it again, making me a believer in the fact that all stoner/doom does NOT have to be half-assed SABBATH/KYUSS clones. Certainly not, when an album like “After The Fall” is whole-assed killer.
Stephen Bishop - vocals/guitar
Todd “The Bird” Connally - guitar/programming
Dave “Uncle Dave” Crow - bass/vocals
Johnny Lightening - drums