Album Review: Thunder Horse - After The Fall
Reviewed by Matthew Williams
For anyone who had the pleasure of seeing Thunder Horse on their first ever tour of the UK in May, including being the only band to play twice at Desertfest London, will know that these Texan rockers play a brand of music that is hard to put into any single genre, but they kick maximum ass when they do so, and with the jaw droppingly brilliant single “New Normal” blasting out each night, it gave a flavour of what to expect from their new album.
'After The Fall' is their third album, being released through the ever wonderful Ripple Music, and allows the foursome to explore deeper issues and expand their music genres even more. For those who are unaware of the band, think early Sabbath, mixed with the massive guitar sound of Deep Purple, on a sonically mesmerizing Pink Floyd trip, and you might just be getting there.
Coming out of the post Covid era, the band, and in particular vocalist/guitarist Stephen Bishop, found himself in a pissy, angry mood (his words, not mine) where he was hating all politicians, and sick of politics being shoved down their throats constantly, so they set about making this record, sharing riffs and bouncing ideas around via email, and with other guitarist Todd Connally, they have created a record of genuine depth, with real life experiences and a few curve balls thrown in.
It all kicks off with the title track 'After The Fall', which from the off gives you a great insight into what the band are all about, with the doom and psych sound, clearly evident in the middle section, allowing the song to develop its massive sound, and then the previously mentioned “New Normal” comes through loud and clear, a catchphrase we all suffered from hearing over and over again, but this is a song of genuinely high quality, with an excellent video to match it.
And if you thought the pace or quality was going to drop, then you were wrong, as next up is the mighty 'Monolith' a song of true power, and you can hear the influence of Ministry’s Al Jourgensen on the vocal style. It’s a killer song from start to finish, with the guitar riffs being traded between Bishop and Connally on point from start to finish. Then comes a curve ball, with the gently strummed 'Other Side' showing the calmer, softer side of the band, it’s almost like a little breather before the madness kicks off again with the epic 'Apocalypse'.
'Inner Demon' is probably the song which shows the range of the entire band, with the bass sound of Dave Crow, really coming to the fore and drummer Jason “Shakes” demonstrating his quality throughout, and showing that these aren’t a one trick pony, but a band with great diversity. When I spoke to Stephen in May, he mentioned a song about a city, but even I didn’t expect it to be about a city in Scotland called 'Aberdeen' (though I’m rather suspecting it’s about the one in Northern Texas).
And then come the opening plucked strings on the final song, 'Requiem' a song powerfully built up, strong, emotional, “living by the roll of the dice” spits out Bishop with real meaning, a generation lost in the few years of pandemic madness, still searching for their destiny. It sums up how we’ve all felt.
All in all, it’s an album of high quality and real depth, which will hopefully propel Thunder Horse to even greater heights and like many who saw them on tour recently, I can’t wait to see them back on these shores as soon as possible.