"The Thundering Heard (Songs Of Hoof And Horn)"

By Lord Randall

There are certain bands that, jaded and cynical as I am, each album release is an event. ENSLAVED is one, WOVENHAND another. Also included in the odd handful or so is Utah’s EAGLE TWIN. COHEED AND CAMBRIA-like – yet without the meticulous attention to minutiae and suckage – the duo has acted as conduit for a tale spanning (now) three albums, "The Thundering Heard (Songs Of Hoof And Horn)" being the latest chapter. 

Even a few moments into opener ‘Quanah Un Rama’, the reason for my use of “conduit” before should come clear, as it doesn’t feel as if the duo has birthed something of their own so much as acted as vessels for something that needed to be delivered and chose EAGLE TWIN as its surrogate. Lumbering, ritual, tribal all apply, and you’ve heard myself and a hundred other critics toss out all those terms before, but I get the sense that Densley & Smith are onto something deeper here…something breathing, almost corporeal in form. ‘Elk Wolfv Hymn’ could easily be a prayer/ceremony of the Paiute, continuing into ‘Heavy Hoof’, easily the most straightforward – if such a term could be used to describe Eagle Twin’s output – tune on "The Thundering Heard". Monolithic in groove, yet slinky-sexy as it winds around you, a seven-(antlered?)headed (elk?) serpent of myth and maraud, ‘Heavy Hoof’ is Eagle Twin’s ‘Big News II’, without a doubt, though I’m sure that wasn’t the goal. At double the length of its predecessor, ‘Antlers Of Lightning’ is just ground-and-pound pummel, a foot on the jugular, crushing the remaining emotion from whatever’s left of the listener for the remainder of the album. 

In all, if you’re into the quick payoff, seek elsewhere. If arriving at the end of a 40+ minute album feeling like you’ve just spent 4 hours getting the shit kicked out of you, but fighting the urge to press Play again appeals to you, I present "The Thundering Heard".