On a Pale Horse - A Generation of Vipers
Corporate Punishment Records
Sludgy Stoner Metal
12 songs (49'05")
Release year: 2008
Corporate Punishment Records
Reviewed by Adam
Old associations can be hard to shake. Just ask Josh Brainard. Josh was the guitar player for the divisive yet hugely popular band Slipknot until 1998. Yet here we are 10 years later and the first reference I see to his next band On a Pale Horse is that it “contains former members of Slipknot and Downthesun”. Never mind the fact that the only thing in common On a Pale Horse has with Slipknot is that they both originated in Iowa. A more apt comparison would be to Alabama Thunderpussy or Down, as these guys play a sludgy style of stoner metal more commonly found in the southeastern US.

It turns out that this latest album, A Generation of Vipers, will be the band’s last, as vocalist Aaron Peltz left the band earlier this year. With that said, their final outing is decent overall, but just does not do anything to separate On a Pale Horse from the herd of stoner metal bands in existence. First, I would say that if you find nothing to like in either of the comparisons I made above, then you might as well skip this one too. Peltz’s vocals are the finest aspect of the band, especially when they get frequent harmonic assistance from Brainard. His voice ranges from a pure and aggressive clean vocal to a gravelly hardcore yell. Fans of this genre are undoubtedly used to that sort of style by now, but these are still more than adequate. Sound the Alarm is a good example of how good Peltz’s clean vocals can sound over the driving sludge of southern styled riffing. The harmonies I mentioned before are not prominent until Soma Sema, where they take center stage and carry an otherwise average track. Therein lies the problem with A Generation of Vipers. The rhythm section is by no means bad; in fact there are some decent riffs to be found. Unfortunately, this formula is getting very tired teetering on boring. On the surface, this album is not notably long, but it feels like it is taking an eternity to finish as you sift through it.

There are surely some good moments, such as the monstrous Release the Smoke in addition to those already mentioned. As a whole, though, I found it hard not to feel like I had heard almost everything on A Generation of Vipers done many times before. This is not always a horrible detraction for me, but when I have to struggle to pick out one aspect of a band’s album that makes them stick out from their peers, it renders said album a painfully average effort in my opinion.
Killing Songs :
Sound the Alarm, Soma Sema, Release the Smoke
Adam quoted 57 / 100
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There are 2 replies to this review. Last one on Mon Nov 24, 2008 7:24 pm
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