A Pale Horse Named Death / Blood Runs Deep
27 January 2012
The Borderline, London
Amazingly it had been 7 years, almost to the day, since we last visited the Borderline.It’s a shame there aren’t more metal gigs there as it provides a warm but intimate atmosphere.
First up was Swiss band Blood Runs Deep who I’d heard nothing about prior to being confirmed for this show. Checking out their sole 2009 album in advance, I had hoped the band may have moved on a bit from what is quite a patchy release, however everything tonight featured on that disc.
There’s something that doesn’t quite gel for me about this band. In the mid 90s, off the back of Paradise Lost and Type O Negatives successes, a raft of bands appeared attempting to ply a similar gothic/doom metal approach; anyone remember Entwined? Blood Runs Deep remind me of this era.
Songs like Lost Myself Again and All The Things Above sounded lumpen and awkward though were somewhat redeemed thanks to Denis Vera’s impressive guitar solos. Meanwhile These Thoughts About Suicide and Jealousy hung together better, with Josh Almus’ swathes of keyboards acting as the glue.
Apparently the band are working on a new album to be released this year and if it takes the positive aspects of their songwriting it may be worth checking out and also provide an opportunity to leave some of the older material behind.
Blood Runs Deep setlist:
Lost Myself Again / These Thoughts About Suicide / All the Things Above / Jealousy / Black Sabbath (riff)/Overdose Anaesthetics / Suicide is Life / Outro
It’s A Pale Horse Named Death who the crowd are here for tonight and it’s a very impressive turnout for the band’s first London show with only one album out to date. Of course the Type O Negative connection certainly was a draw with a number of the band’s t-shirts being worn tonight. Frontman Sal Abruscato drummed for Pete Steele’s mob right up to Bloody Kisses and taking his drum stool after that was Johnny Kelly, who mans the kit for A Pale Horse Named Death.
It would have been an easy route for A Pale Horse Named Death to include a Type O Negative song or two, but this could have unbalanced their set and wisely they chose to concentrate on their own material, playing all but Bad Dream from their album.
Opening with To Die In Your Arms, whilst the Type O connection is clear reference, A Pale Horse Named Death’s songs are far more compact. The band’s own bio references Alice In Chains and you could hear that flowing through Devil In The Closet.
Abruscato’s true partner in crime in this band is raven haired guitarist Matt Brown, who incestuously also plays guitar in Kelly’s band Seventh Void. Abruscato described the pairing as “the murdering evil version of Lennon and McCartney” and When Crows Descend Upon You had echoes of the fab four, but on a bad mushroom trip.
I think it’s fair to say Abruscato was somewhat happy with the crowd response, following up “You guys made my f**king week” with the less appealing, “If I had a big enough penis I’d f**k you all”. Moving from behind a kit to standing out fronting a band must have been daunting, but Abruscato’s warmth and dry sense of humour easily won over the crowd. With two other guitarists in the band, Abruscato’s guitar often hung from his neck for large portions of the songs as he gesticulated whilst singing. Whilst is voice isn’t the strongest yet, you get the feeling with more road work he will only get better.
Rounding out the line-up, bassist Eric Morgan was full of energy to Abruscato’s right and handling lead guitar duties was the newly recruited Eddie Heedles, replacing Bobby Hambel who is out on tour with Biohazard and coincidentally in this city with that band next week (check back for a review of that).
High point of the set was the majestic As Black As My Heart, which was obviously very personal to Abruscato having written it having been “F**ed over”. Cracks In The Wall picked up that Alice In Chains vibe, channelled through Black Sabbath, with the end section allowing Kelly to cut loose on the drums. In one of the few up-tempo moments of the set, Serial Killer recalled the dark side of Stone Temple Pilots, whilst Die Alone was dedicated to Pete Steele.
Dispensing with his guitar, Abruscato led the band through closing number Bath In My Blood (Schizophrenia In Me) and signed off with a very genuine, “We are nothing without you”.
The band then hung around after at the merchandise stand to sign cds, have photos taken and just generally chat with the fans.A great evening and hopefully the start of something special for A Pale Horse Named Death.
A Pale Horse Named Death 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)