By the time Friedrich Nietzsche was forty five years old he’d succumb to insanity, and a decade later death, due to a multitude of factors all impossible to confirm due to the state of science and medicine at the time. What sparked this mental dissonance at its inception is meaningless be it his witness of animal cruelty, syphilis, vascular dementia from a series of mild strokes, brain tumor, or mercury poisoning. Where this final decade of his life is best remembered lies in the character found within his final letters written to acquaintances. Nietzsche posited himself Dionysus, swore himself a protector of Jesus and abolisher of anti-semites, as well as the victim of a German medical crucifixion. The light of this brilliant man went out slowly and viciously without any placating explanation; Even more horrendous was this sickening irony that as he faded mentally his works were reaching a great peak with Twilight of the Idols (1889) freshly pressed and Antichrist (1895) / Ecce Homo (1908) held hostage by conniving family members who would forge and censor pieces for the sake of reputation and monetary gain. What the public learned was a matter of myth and legend in suggesting that Nietzsche achieved the great indicator, a public mental breakdown, after witnessing a horse being beaten in Turin, Italy. There is sickening romantic thought surrounding his ‘mute insanity’ that mostly stems from a mixture of detractors who’d suggest his bold theorem caused his status whereas filmmakers [see: A torinói ló (2011)] and artists see this breaking point unto death as a defeated mind refusing to do anything but die when faced with the reality of mundane and hopeless existence. Greco-Italian extreme noise rock band The Turin Horse appear with the allure of a broken mind and aggressive spirit on this their earliest release; The mystery of a great minds insanity that surrounds their name is fitting for the dark, intelligent and inspired noise rock within.
Formed in 2015 between drummer Alain Lapaglia (ex-Morkobot) and guitarist/vocalist Enrico Tauraso (ex-Dead Elephant) the duo create much more than a common ground between the dark post-sludge of Dead Elephant and the increasingly technical/math rock influenced verve of experimental trio Morkobot. Some elements of math rock and sludge metal do permeate the overall experience but these are flourishes and extremes amidst a fine wave of extreme noise rock that gives psychedelic depth to the approaches of Unsane (see: “Blame Me”) and early Today is the Day. As with most of the finer modern noise rock variations today The Turin Horse bring atmosphere and bombast to the tightly achieved ‘pocket’ of classic noise rock’s precision instrumentation and this offers a sort of alternate universe for folks who heard -16-‘s ‘Scott Case’ demos and saw their legacy going in a wilder direction beyond that first album. ‘Power electronics’ samples do a lot to amplify this meeting of non-traditional sludge rock and heavy post-hardcore informed noise rock; Nowhere is this combination more beautifully realized than the third track “The Light That Failed”, which actually seems to reference the movie I’d mentioned previous.
As a huge fan of Unsane and a lover of the extreme spectrum of sludge, post-hardcore and noise rock this EP couldn’t be a more perfect fit for my tastes. The expression inherent to the two songs they’ve written offers a great shroud over the deeper complexity of The Turin Horse‘s rhythms but the listen remains familiar and exuberant thanks to Lapaglia‘s drumming. Tauraso‘s voice is distant but impactful, particularly on “The Light That Failed” but the finely tuned guitar work throughout the EP, including the Unsane cover, showcases great attention to detail that reveals depth across several listens. I found myself returning to this EP for the chemistry of performance and generally inventive composition. One of the finer noise rock related releases of 2018 and a record that will have some broad crossover appeal for sludge and post-hardcore fandom as well. Highly recommended, even if you just hop on for the third track.
Something very close — the end. 4.0/5.0
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