A Pale Horse Named Death emerged from New York in 2011. The band has been known for mixing dark gothic sounds with an old school metal approach. They will release their new album When the World Becomes Undone in January. It is their first album in five years due to singer and guitarist Sal Abruscato rejoining Life of Agony to help create arrangements for their 2017 album A Place Where There’s No More Pain.
When the World Comes Undone is about the world’s struggles, in addition to what was happening in Sal’s personal life over the last four years. These come out in the music, a bleak grey landscape with some epic moments.
With a subject like this, the soundtrack reflects the world crashing down. You can imagine big building’s falling, a grey cloud of smoke washing over them. Abruscato’s vocals are so passionate, they have a Marilyn-Manson-esque quality about them and compliment the music very well. A good example of this is the opening piano in ‘When the World Becomes Undone’, which transitions into a thumping guitar riff.
I think the guitar work is solid, the dark solos bring an emotional texture to the album, especially on ‘End of Days.’ The slow drone of the guitars are nasty, reflecting the relentless chaos. There are themes that are mentioned repeatedly, for example, “a world that’s coming undone”. The riff in ‘We All Break Down’ to me is captivating, the layered guitars and the reverberated drums add a dark undertone to the track. The vocals are a bit low in the mix, but they blend in the atmosphere quite nicely. As the track goes on, and the question “what have we become?” is asked, I felt that this is one of the key moments on the album, questioning the gloomy state of the world and how it is filled with hate and sadness.
The vocals and the swirling guitars on ‘Lay With the Wicked’ are evil, adding an almost-death like feel to the album. I felt that it was a bit forgettable as it plodded along, but the cathedral style atmosphere in ‘Dreams Of the End’ with its big wailing redeemed the album for me. This transitions itself nicely into the last track, ‘Closure’ which consists of church bells, people crying, and a melancholy organ. It is drawn from a funeral, and to me had a cinematic feel. I thought it was a superb way to close the album because it summed it up as a whole and completed the story.
I really enjoyed this album on a whole, and feel that it will resonate with fans of Type O Negative and Marilyn Manson. The bleak backdrop is orchestrated very well, allowing the listener to delve into their imagination.
Words by Ermis Madikopoulos