Review: Buzzherd/Pale Horseman – Split

The art of the split release is a beast all its own and putting together two or more bands on a single album can be a tough proposition. Generally serving to introduce fans of one band to another band, or artist, of a similar style, they could also be friends who want to release something together, or perhaps a label simply wants to promote two of its artists with one stone. Hailing from Bethlehem, PA and Chicago respectively, the combination of Buzzherd and Pale Horseman results in a somewhat uneven offering, while still stocked to the brim with anger and crushing distortion.

Buzzherd/Pale Horseman - Split

Buzzherd is raw and blisteringly angry. The old-school buzz of angry bee distortion is given free reign among the thrashy blastbeats and fiery bass runs of the rhythm section. The vocals are camping in the middle of ‘90s thrash and death metal meeting grounds, and have a great delivery. The lyrics seem a throwback to the ‘90s as well with a pretty childish approach to lyrics that is almost cute.

The production is great, there are some old-school thrash classics that I wish sounded like this. As great as the vocals are, they could use more variety, always mirroring the guitar riffs, which are in tandem with the drums, gets a little old by the time it’s rounding out their last track with some refreshingly different vocals.

stocked to the brim with anger and crushing distortion…

Pale Horseman kicks in with a powerful sonic range and vocals that really cut through. The sound is thick but crisp, and the sludgy rhythms of this pasty rider are quite a change of pace. Pale Horseman’s music flows very naturally with a sense of narrative while constantly building the drama and intensity.

The bands tight riffing creates a range of moods and dynamics and provides a sustained musical flow that keeps the ear at attention. Pale Horseman’s creative vocal interplay is featured more prominently as the songs progress, especially on the bonus track, and this brings in a very important element to keep the massive riffing plodding along without crushing us in its path.

Buzzherd/Pale Horseman - Split

While Buzzherd have evolved to create a death, sludge and grind hybrid, Pale Horseman have their very experienced feet firmly planted in a fuzzy field of doom with roots in stoner metal and rock. Both bands have powerful sounds and are capable of creating distinct moods, though they are also sonically and conceptually very different.

While these bands share some musical DNA, they are also quite distinct, and each side of the album is as well. Each band’s contribution has its own merits, but they are better understood separately from each other, which in my view makes this a not very successful split, even if the music from both is top notch to excellent. Check out and enjoy, but maybe separately.

Label: Independent
Buzzherd: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram
Pale Horseman: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Goro Riffs