The Florida group Horsewhip pack absolutely pulverizing noisy hardcore on their riveting new album, Laid to Waste.
Most of the record’s sound packs a big, booming thickness, which gives the record an alluringly grimy feel. Nothing is overpolished, and instead, each riff feels like it’s just been dredged out of some sweltering backwoods Florida swamp.
Amidst this thick and consistently propulsive music, Horsewhip have captured a truly wild set of sounds. Moving through the album feels like taking in the soundtrack for a brawl at a bar hidden in the dust and weeds along the side of some abandoned highway, but the band doesn’t stop there, although that raging, churning energy would be impressive on its own. By the end of Laid to Waste, as the drama in the riffs intensifies and the band launch into dynamics like simmering basslines and crescendos into mayhem, the album’s scenery feels like it’s moved out into the overheated swamp, as if the songs are the soundtrack for thumping your chest, running out into the woods, and falling face down into the dirt in a fit of metaphysical desperation. It’s great.
“Feast” and “Inertia Waits,” which are the second and third tracks of the album, respectively, introduce some of the band’s more atmosphere-oriented tendencies. The latter track in particular features some rumbling basslines like the sound of cracks of thunder that are slowly but surely getting closer, as if a huge storm is rolling in. Even amidst the more restrained (but always still searing) portions, there’s pretty much always a kick, it’s worth noting — drum rhythms that feel like they’re whipping the rug out from under your feet seem always closeby.
As Laid to Waste rolls on, the tension amplifies to a rather magnificently impressive degree. By “Charnel House” and “Closure,” the epically reverberating riffs feel like the soundtrack for a drunken stagger through swampy filth — and, somehow, there’s a looming sense of bliss thanks to the endlessly moving stormclouds of energy that course through this record and keep the listening experience invigorating. The riffs feel like leaps towards catharsis — and wow, are those riffs and every other part of this album invigorating for every step of the way.
Listen to Horsewhip below! Laid to Waste drops in full via Roman Numeral Records and Financial Ruin on Sept. 25.