'Half Blood' begins with a grinding garrulous bass that is, without a shadow of a doubt , the be-all-and-end-all of a tune that’s perfect for shagging to. Over this pounding bass, sleazy keys come in and some skagged-up guitars to give it a Sunday morning/still fucked feeling. Then, just when you're expecting something majestic to happen, what you aren't expecting is Freddy Krueger to start singing to you. I'll admit that originally, this was a huge minus for me. Quality shagging music cannot be quality when you have Uncle Freddy singing shit you cannot make out; what if some of what he is saying is “After you cum you are going to fall asleep and I am going to kill you in your dreams”...? That shit ain't legit.
However, after a while I got used to the black metal singing and found it to actually compliment the dirty, whisky bar drop D druggy A side of this rather brilliant record. You see, this album is like two records in one. I'll explain later.
Openers 'Mithras' ,'Ahriman' & 'Arjuna' all sound like they have been cut from a massive jam that CAN had in the woods from The Blair Witch Project, under the psychotic pharmaceutical supervision of 'Gris-Gris'-period Dr. John. Only 'Inheritance (the changeling)' gives an idea of what awaits us on side B. It's seven minutes long, a massive wall of synthesisers and sounds that swell until you are called back from R'lyeh with 'Arjuna's intro.
Some tracks sound like there’s a 14 piece band in the studio and something, possibly Freddy, makes you think it's just Jenk. 'Half Blood' was recorded in Chapel Hill, North Carolina in 2011 sometime after Relapse picked the band up. Apparently a sister album to its predecessor 'The Invisible Mountain', it takes off on its own, wanting no sibling bonds, only independence.
Side B begins with 'Hallucigenia I: Hermetic Gifts'. This, along with its successor 'Hallucigenia II: Spiritual Junk' remind me of Miles Davis ('Agharta' period), Vangelis (Blade Runner) and Sunn O))) ('White 2'). Both merge into one another; long, buzzing nightmares of of entrancing layered tones. I'm not particularly into my Jack and Jills and tea mugs but if you like a spliff, I'm sure this would agree with you. 'Hallucigenia III: The Emerald Tablet' brings us out of the trip and we are returned. Back on the bed and ready for some more action. If there is one thing I love more than you-know-what, or songs good for it, it's droning repetitive beats with hundreds of one tone synths over a single-note bass line. Chuck in some George Harrison-style guitar solos and keep at it for near 13 minds and you have an idea of this mantra-like finale.
Half Breed was my first foray into the world of Horseback and if it's yours too, you wont be disappointed. I always like the extra effort artists put into their work: this particular album comes with a back story woven into the song titles. The cover art by Denis Kostromitin, a thing of complete beauty, also forms part of the fabric of this Zoroastrian tale. Just remember, that ain't Freddy, that's Jenk Miller.
Posted: Tue 24 April 2012