review by: Ignacio Coluccio
From Canada, the country of incredible indie bands, comes Lodown. Whether Lodown is metal or not is purely subjective. It's definitely not for the standard rock fan, but it's not entirely metal when it comes to being extreme. And it's like that for everything. It's not this, but it's not that either, so it's stuck in the middle for almost every decision.
Not saying Black Horse is horrible, because it's not. In fact, there's not much about it technically bad. The thing is, it's just not fresh. You've already heard it. In fact, you've already heard it multiple times, and maybe you weren't even paying attention. You've heard Lodown in the radio in the random grunge songs, you've heard it in Corrosion of Conformity's most popular stuff, you've heard it in millions of modern stoner rock bands.
Even if you like all those genres, Black Horse doesn't excel at any of them. The grunge parts are totally formulaic, the stoner feels like a lesser version of Nebula, and the straight metal is not so straight at all, as it's seriously nu-metal sounding. And even when they find a good riff, they repeat it ad infinitum (see "Pucifer").
Black Horse doesn't really feel like an album, or even a mix of songs. It feels like a product. Sporting a "Parental Advisory - Explicit Content" warning, a "tougher than you" sound all around; you can't help but think that all this is, in fact, a commercial campaign or something way too prepackaged. Not a single thing about Black Horse isn't marketable: harsh vocals that are still melodic, powerchord-driven riffs of the nu-metal kind, simple verse-chorus-verse songs with normal time signatures, some breakdowns here and there, some calmer vocals, some clean parts. Experimentation? Technical profficiency? None at all. Hell, not even nostalgic value or good musical worshipping?
Lodown just loves staying in the safe side of things. You can feel the indecision, the "should we be extreme or should we be easy to listen to?", almost as if they themselves didn't really know what they wanted to play either.
In the end, Black Horse is a non-invasive, pointless album. It's not ear-shattering, it's not so bad you'll laugh, it's not so experimental you won't understand it. It's a middle point, everywhere. On the other hand, it won't please you if you've heard bands like Nebula before, and it won't make your grunge craving go away for longer than some minutes if you're a real fan of it. It's just there, and it's certainly not gonna change your life. (4.2/10)