Independent release, 2010
REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/30/2010
Dead Horse Trauma is from Iowa, the same state as Slipknot; combine the growly vocals (think Lamb Of God at its most intense moments), thunderous drums, and interesting guitars and you end up with Dead Horse Trauma. This five-piece band is trying to make a name for themselves in the world of metal. This release serves as a strong indication that this band, with the proper marketing, will do just that.
This is intense music. Opener “Chemicult” gets the foot tapping as drummer Jason Handy establishes himself as a driving force with double bass, fancy snare fills, and interesting rhythms. Guitarist Seth Peters crafts an intelligent riff while Eric Davidson flexes his musical vision, using three different vocal styles in this first track. There are hardcore-style screams, clear vocals, and vocals with a airy effect added to his performance. This versatility carries through the rest of the tracks on this release. Title cut “Infestation” was the mysterious guitar riff I first heard on the band's website. It sounds a lot like something Faith No More would play. To end the song, Davidson riffs on the phrase “It’s just not the way you wanted it to be,” ending things with a sense of regret.
"Syndrome" allows Davidson's intensity to take the forefront as Handy and Peters (Jarood provide the pedastal for Davidson to rant and drive his tortured soul to the ears. In "Unmerciful Strike," Davidson sings, "I close my eyes / Loss of control / I collapse from inside / It's a lie we must defy / It's everyday we deail with all this spoonfed ignorance." Davidson is extremely confrontational, ranting at the idea that the person he is berating is “dead to me” later in this track; you feel as though you never want to make Davidson mad in fear of the consequences. The pseudo drum solo during the interlude section of this track is impressive as well.
"Unspoken" is an great track with the way bassist Jarood Mienke establishes the song with some fancy fretwork. Davidson shouts "Guilty!" before delivering his perspective on the world as he sings, "And you refuse to see / So many disagree when all the facts are surfacing / And maybe all these days of painting us disgrace / Will end with our suffering…Fathers imprisoned for growing leaves." It is my favorite track on this release. Other strong tracks are "Never Safe," which begins softly before Davidson unleashes his fury, and with a nod to Faith No More, "Synapse."
Dead Horse Trauma have a good thing going for themselves. Each musician is capable of contributing their instrument to the common good to create aggressive and intriguing music. There are a few tracks with the verse/chorus verse structure, and even though those cuts follow this familiar structure, the way in which the instruments interact still make the music captivating. I found myself listening to this repeatedly and not growing tired of it.