Horse Head – Missionary


a mule of a recording

Review by Dominik Seres


Release date: 25 September 2015

Horse Head are a relatively new sludge three-piece out of sunny Arizona and Missionary is the band’s second offering, following their short hiatus that started in 2013. Being a bit out of the loop lately concerning sludge, based on some of their influences I was curious what could these Arizonans offer to this oft-maligned genre.

To my dismay, not much. Okay, that’s a bit harsh, the fault is with me, as I obviously have a different perception of the genre than the guys of Horse Head do. Missionary has almost nothing in common with the likes of Eyehategod or Corrupted, going for music more along the lines of Soilent Green, with less frequent bluesy riffing and taking a lot more groove influences. Indeed, at their worst moments, the band recalls Pantera’s low-brow knuckle-dragging moshfests (see ‘Whiskey and Blood’,) Anselmo’s barking replaced here with a screaming/growing interplay more unfavourable comparisons with the forerunners of the Deathcore/Metalcore craze. Not every second of the EP is worthless though, the exchange between trippy, dreamy guitar harmonies and heavy breakdowns in the closer ‘Destroyer Television’ for example exhibit a creative side of Horse Head, which is sadly seldom exhibited on Missionary.

Based on the EP, the band has the potential to rise as a second-tier sludge act one day, once they cut back on the groove and crank up on the filth, because what we have here right now is a mish-mash of genres, a mule of a recording.

Horse Head – Missionary20153.5 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Missionary
  2. Red-eyed Angel
  3. Whiskey and Blood
  4. Destroyer Television