A Pale Horse Named Death - LIVE: Borderline, London 2012
January 27 (20:55-22:15)
Doomy New York outfit A Pale Horse Named Death have thus far followed a very similar career path to fellow New Yorkers Seventh Void, in that they're both founded by ex-Type O Negative members, have both gone for a grungier doom sound than Type O had, and have both been touring their debut albums.
In fact, they both also feature Matt Brown on lead guitar and another former Type O member, drummer Johnny Kelly. Seventh Void are slightly ahead of APHND as they released their album at the tail-end of 2010, while APHND didn't release theirs until June 2011, but otherwise they're mirroring each other.
What Seventh Void haven't yet managed though is headlining UK shows. Their only visit to the UK so far has been as special guests to Monster Magnet, so APHND are ahead of the curve there, booking six shows across England, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Wales, culminating in this London show and playing the whole album each night, albeit not in order. Support for the tour came from Swiss band Blood Runs Deep, whose 35-minutes of mesmerising sludge/doom instrumentation and Kirk Windstein-like verse vocals were only let down by their penchant for turning to a black metal vocal style for the choruses.
APHND, after starting to set up their own gear the instant Blood Runs Deep left the stage, ended up standing around ready to play 20 minutes before the start time posted on the doors outside, but it seemed like the near-capacity crowd were ready for it. Very few people arrived part way through the set and their fans proved very keen, singing along from first track To Die In Your Arms. The addition of guitarist Eddie Heedles to the touring line-up in place of Biohazard's Bobby Hambel meant they played most of the material with three guitar players, and were thereby able to continue to reproduce the thick tones of the CD, but with near-perfect sound clarity and volume.
Sal Abruscato, turning his hand from drums with Type O and Life of Agony to guitar and vocals, is perhaps not the liveliest front-man around, leaving the pulling of shapes to Brown and bassist Eric Morgan, but is immediately engaging with his humorous stage banter and showed himself to be fully capable of delivering the band's material in a live setting. Crushing riffs were the order of the day, along with the inherent catchiness of their Alice In Chains-meets-Crowbar songs and the willing involvement of the crowd showed that their debut has been very well received.
The next best move for APHND, judging by this reception and performance, would probably be to try for some kind of relevant support slot like Seventh Void did, then follow that up quite quickly with another album and headlining dates at slightly bigger venues. They've clearly got a good base to build from and they're a live unit built for playing to more than 200 people, even if they seem to be thrilled to do just that.
“ Crushing riffs were the order of the day ”
Blood Runs Deep Setlist: Lost Myself Again / These Thoughts About Suicide / All The Things Above / Jealousy / Overdose Anaesthetics / Suicide Is Life
APHND Setlist: To Die In Your Arms / Devil In The Closet / When Crows Descend Upon You / Heroin Train / Meet The Wolf / As Black As My Heart / Pill Head / Cracks In The Walls / Serial Killer / Die Alone / Bath In My Blood (Schizophrenia In Me)
Photo(s): Andy Lye
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