Originally formed in 2012 from a group already seasoned musicians, Thunder Horse, led by guitarist/vocalist Stephen Bishop who, alongside lead guitarist TC Conally were the drivers of the industrial metal band Pitbull Daycare (I hadn’t heard of them but 10 out of 10 for the band name!) Their influences are steeped in the world of heavy rock and they cite Roger Waters, Michael Schenker, Toni Iommi and Robin Trower to name but a few. Together with Jason West on drums and Dave Crow on bass, Thunder Horse have released a self-titled EP that is obviously laced with doom, heavy blues and classic rock ‘n’ roll, but they feel that they have managed to create ”new dawn in the southern sludge metal genre”.
The opening song, ‘Coming Home’ shows the Trower influence with a Bridge of Sighs like beginning before a Sabbath weight riff kicks in and the vocals match the heavy blues structure. The guitar solo is short but well executed and then, Iommi like, punctuates the lyrics. It is very doom-y but it has a hell of a lot to offer repeated listens. ‘Blood Ritual’ starts with a neat drum pattern before the heavy riff starts as if it was a continuation of the preceding track: the difference being, vocally it is less processed and Bishop spits out the lyrics with depth and feeling over drum and bass and the pace does change and the guitar solo is again a quality one. ‘Demons Speak’ has a great bass intro and the whole thing is obviously inspired by Master of Reality, although the melody departs from this a bit…it still maintains honesty and originality.
This release really does show a promise for the future with its slow, low, and heavy compositions steeped in sounds synonymous of 70s hard rock and heavy metal but with a bit of sludge added in.
From a personal point of view, the differentiation could be greater between the tracks as I know they have more than those Sabbath-like riffs in their armoury. The playing abilities are not in doubt but, although I wouldn’t skip any of these tracks a whole album would be a little much to take.