"Gift Horse"

by Dr. Abner Mality

On first inspection, I was going to hit Mose Giganticus as a kind of Mastodon wannabe, but a closer look revealed a deeper history to this band. For instance, this is actually their third album, although it's the first I've heard of them. Based out of Pennsylvania, their earlier records have been described as punk/indie rock with generous helpings of synthesizer. They also dealt with huge concepts like the war of geniuses between Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. Not exactly the typical fodder for metal bands.

"Gift Horse" is their first for Relapse and their predilection for heavy duty concepts has not abated. The album is a dialogue between God and Lucifer on the eve of Armageddon. Perhaps the next one will be the musical account of the Thrilla in Manilla between Ali and Frazier. But I digress...

It's pleasant enough listening and the comparisons to Mastodon are certainly there for all to see. The album focuses on heavy mid-tempo riffs with a kind of epic feel, augmented and boosted by prominent synthesizer work. Not a New Wave type feel or over the top Wakeman-type prog stuff, but just an intense synth buzz backing up the metal. On cuts like "White Horse" and "The Seventh Seal", it almost sounds like Peter Frampton is sitting in, because the robotic tones of a vocoder are heard. The punk connection is non-existent here, as far as I can tell.

I think Mose should have upped the ante and went over the top with the epic stuff. The record doesn't really sound massive enough for its apocalyptic concept...that needs riffs that could crush boulders, exalted Hammond organ, choirs. I get the majestic feeling but only in bits and pieces. A good record, but with more ambition, it could have been unforgettable.