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Album Review: A PALE HORSE NAMED DEATH Lay My Soul to Waste

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So you're in the mood for some Alice in Chains, but the doomier styling of bands like Woods of Ypres has been calling your name all day. Making a playlist isn't going to cut it; you want your 20-ton slow jams with a heaping side of vocal harmonies right now! Welcome to A Pale Horse Named Death's Lay My Soul to Waste, where everything moves at the speed of a clock and doesn't believe in hitting one positive note the whole time through.

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Have you ever seen one of those YouTube videos where people speed up things decomposing? Lay My Soul to Waste is the audible equivalent of that; rotting and morbid with no real chance to become positive, but you have zero intention of ever looking away. The band hasn't changed their sound in the slightest from their 2011 debut, And Hell Will Follow Me, which isn't a bad thing. Former Type O Negative drummer Sal Abruscato takes the reins on guitar and vocals with that same downtempo gaze that Type O was so well known for, bringing it to a different pain of existence with A Pale Horse Named Death twice now. Essentially, if you're a Type O Negative fan then you're A Pale Horse Named Death fan.

So it's a ripoff of Sal's career with legendary vocalist Peter Steele? Not really. Sal and the guys known damn well what they're doing in terms of coming up with original music. Lay My Soul to Waste gets off to a sleepy start with the introductory ambient title track, but gets right into digging graves and casting shadows on what might be the best song off the album, "Shallow Graves."

Lay My Soul to Waste doesn't throw all too many curveballs at you though, and that's where it falls short of being really good. Sure, there are strange little acoustic songs like "Dead of Winter" that change it up, but launch right back into songs like "Devil Came with a Smile" directly after it, leaving you sitting there wondering when the next different song will come along.

The riffs are definitely cool when they need to be cool, Sal's and co-guitarist Matt Brown's vocals are an earworm with their doom-and-gloom lyrics about addiction and serial killers, and the guitar solos don't slouch when they happen, but I found myself sitting there and using the album as background noise more than an active listen at points. The overall music on the record is good, but it can be a little mundane at points.

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The bottom line with this record is you're getting what you hear right off the bat and not a whole lot else. It's a great record for what it's worth, and there are a lot of songs that'll be stuck in your head while listening to the record, but I find it difficult to recall a lot of it afterward. At the very least I'd suggest giving this record a shot!



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