Creativity is flowing everywhere in metal. The melding of genre and style has opened the doors to a new wave of sound that has no modern comparison. This is more than a re-interpretation of a classic attack, this is a full blown revolution. We are swimming in untested waters and I like it.

The Mound Builders and Pale Horseman have just released a 12” vinyl split on Failure Records and Tapes. The offering was discharged in conjunction with Record Store Day (April 16th). The album features two tracks each from some of the Midwest’s most promising artists. I’ve seen both acts open for The Skull at Reggie’s Rock Club (2105 South State Street) a couple of years ago. Properly mixing rock, death, sludge and doom is no easy task. This is an innovative attack but each band makes their radical style look easy.

The Mound Builders are from Lafayette, Indiana and they’ve been active since 2008. Their music has been coined ‘stoner metal’ but I like to think of it as doom with a splash of rock. The Mound Builders are really song builders. There’s a unique quality in their work that not only features each instrument individually but also provides enough unexpected twists and turns to keep their music fresh. The slower tempos are The Mound Builders’ bread and butter, intricately laced within a complex attitude that seems to mature with each recording. This effort is a solid continuation of the band’s 2014 EP Wabash War Machine.

Pale Horseman are from Chicago, Illinois and they’ve been active since 2012. The Horseman’s music has been described as sludge metal, but there’s definitely some death and doom prevalent in their style. The band uses uncomplicated bass lines and distortion to enter a new realm of heaviness. Memorable lyrics infuse a stifling imagery onto the listener, sharing a morbidity that is not easily forgotten. “Long Way Down“ is one of my favorite tracks on this release and I hope the Horseman continue in this vein. It’s hard to believe this band is unsigned. Hopefully this effort will garner the group some attention. Pale Horseman have an unfashionable approach to a swanky sound and they deserve to be heard.

With extreme music making so many waves, now is the perfect time to jump on board with these pioneering acts and see where the sea of metal takes us. \m/

1. Hashashin (The Mound Builders)
2. Black Drink Ritual (The Mound Builders)
3. Ghosts of the Gallows (Pale Horseman)
4. Long Way Down (Pale Horseman)

The Mound Builders are:
Jim Voelz – Vocals
Brian Boszor – Guitar
“Ninja” Nate Malher – Guitar
Robert Ryan Strawsma – Bass
Jason “Dinger” Brookhart – Drums

Pale Horseman are:
Eric Ondo – Guitars & Vocals
Andre Almaraz – Guitars & Vocals
Rich Cygan – Bass
Chris Pocius – Drums


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