Drowning Horse’s “The Sheltering Sky” is a beautifully heavy, making it both one of the year’s heaviest releases to come from the land down under and a launching pad for doom metal’s newest addition to its own royal family. To clarify in one sentence; this is one hell of a record. With a soundscape that’s ever-lasting, even to its last note “The Sheltering Sky” becomes definable with repeated listens. This may lead the charge for modern doom ‘masterpieces’ as it’s easily enjoyable and still accessible to all crowds that enjoy good music for being spectacular within its own right. Drowning Horse’s debut piece is sure to send shock-waves through the genre.
For a genre so steeped in negativity, violence and despair it’s weird how we can find highlight-able gems and moments through the listeners’ darker thoughts – with each moment on the album defined by the listeners’ own separate mindset. “The Sheltering Sky” captures the nuances so well, captivating a comprehensive display of the album’s entire length. It’s these nuances that separate the likes of Drowning Horse from the waves of monotony that is reaching the doom scene on a daily basis. Each track is transformed into a successive highlight, leaving no dragging, less than great sections on the new record. Even as each track can stand by its own accord, it’s the way each track manipulates a feeling, building atmosphere, reinforcing just how ‘great’ this album actually is. As it stands it’s hard to pass up “Cursed” as a steady example. The track itself is titanic, tumultuous in nature. It helps transcend the norms set by most modern doom records as each new act try to “out-doom” the next and in turn aids one of the year’s best metal performances recorded for the masses (if you’re willing to listen). “Cursed” is an example of a tastefully suffocating atmosphere, but it’s not all tension – as the pressure recedes before the listener becomes fully asphyxiated.
Overall it becomes difficult to put words up against an album that surpasses most of the year’s listens in terms of sheer quality, most reviewers try; providing sweeping statements that are supposed to tell you what you’re getting into, before and after the fact. Drowning Horse have released a gem and the fact that it’s a debut piece makes this all the more magnificent. “The Sheltering Sky” is a highlight of the year 2015, but its lasting value is seemingly endless. I’ll be spinning this monolithic piece of audio art for years.
Members: Brendan Kim James Michael Robin