Mose Giganticus - Gift Horse
Relapse Records
7 songs (29:48)
Release year: 2010
Official Myspace, Relapse Records
Reviewed by Charles
This is a quirky but well-crafted release from Philadelphia one man band Mose Giganticus (aka Matt Garfield). Here we have an album that is packed, in true modern-Relapse style, with gruffly polished, mid-tempo grooves. At the risk of sounding a little jaded, this is solid bedrock is beginning to feel slightly worn in the hands of the acts that have taken it about to its limits several times over. Whilst the shiny heaviness here is often augmented by proggy twists and turns, there are points where the thudding riffs would start to feel slightly over-familiar. So praise be to Thor, then, that this humble base has been recklessly drenched in lurid synthesizer pomp to the extent that it has been completely transmogrified. Like dressing a barfly in elaborate eveningwear and jewellery, a humdrum sludge metal assault is given a new sheen and with it inspiration to be adventurous.

So, to start things off, opener Last Resort kicks into a rumbling sludge groove, replete with typical growling vocals and punching backbeat. But, the whole thing is painted colourfully over by sci-fi keyboard tones. This is followed by The Left Path which takes things further rather, with a parping, Deep Purple-ish Hammond sound taking a stronger melodic presence and forcing the guitars to follow its flamboyant lead. If this seems like an unusual combination, on this evidence it all fits rather snugly together. But that said, as the album progresses any residual tensions seem to want to resolve themselves by guiding the whole thing in a proggier direction. Days of Yore is much slower; a rolling, expansive churn through spacey synthscapes. The Great Deceiver and White Horse even start to heavily feature Cynical robovocals. The latter is probably the best track here; switching around rapidly through meaty riffs and time-shifting glimpses of psychedelia.

So in that last-mentioned, there is at least one track here that genuinely wows. Aside from that I think this is a clever record which doesn’t quite electrify. It feels a little to me like it is kept anchored by its concrete-coated sludge boots, when what it really wants to do is float freely away into some more souful stratosphere. This impression is maybe amplified all the more by the raucous, keening guitar solo that brings closer The Seventh Seal to a climax, wailing over a rich, almost melodeath guitar churn. Instead of these earthy grooves, Gift Horse works best when it just soars away into territory that is more freewheeling and emotive. I think in Mose Giganticus there is a prog metal triumph reaching for room.

Killing Songs :
The Seventh Seal, White Horse
Charles quoted 78 / 100
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There are 2 replies to this review. Last one on Mon Jul 19, 2010 11:44 pm
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