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A Pale Horse Named Death - "And Hell Will Follow Me" (CD)

A Pale Horse Named Death - "And Hell Will Follow Me" CD cover image

"And Hell Will Follow Me" track listing:

1. And Hell Will Follow Me (0:57)
2. As Black As My Heart (4:32)
3. To Die In Your Arms (3:36)
4. Heroin Train (3:10)
5. Devil In The Closet (3:42)
6. Cracks In The Walls (5:40)
7. Bad Dream (2:06)
8. Bath In My Blood (Schizophrenia In Me) (2:25)
9. Pill Head (5:38)
10. Meet The Wolf (5:27)
11. Serial Killer (4:38)
12. When Crows Descend Upon You (4:11)
13. Die Alone (7:35)

Reviewed by on September 9, 2011

"So go ahead and stick “And Hell Will Follow Me” in your iPod shuffle playlist, as any of these songs are a nice shot of something a bit different when riding the bus, but this won’t be anywhere near your 2011 Top Ten List."

As a successful musician in a band, stepping out from behind a band leader or away from the mothership is very tough to do, and my memory is stacked with examples of failure, not success. Jason Newsted tried to have a side project, and then had to leave Metallica (oops). Joey Belladonna has a habit called Anthrax that he just can’t quit, mostly because anything else he’s done has been, well, mediocre. David Lee Roth relied on his guitar players to write killer songs for his whole career, and after leaving Eddie and Co. Diamond Dave was able to make only two good albums before running out of quality slingers who would put up with his schtick (no offense to Jason Becker or Mike Hartman). Dave Grohl, while in different circumstances, gave us the Foo Fighters. Ouch.

Anyway, you get the point. A Pale Horse Named Death is really a vehicle for Sal Abruscato’s solo career so he can play guitar and sing as a band leader. You may know Sal better as the drummer and one of the founders of Type O Negative. In his first stint as band leader, Abruscato made “And Hell Will Follow Me,” which certainly isn’t a seminal album or must have slab, but it isn’t bad either.

Predictably “And Hell Will Follow Me” borrows heavily from Type O Negative’s sound and atmosphere. Readers that are more familiar with Type O Negative than I am will undoubtedly trace connections between specific songs and riffs, but in general A Pale Horse Named Death borrows the general depressed, gothic persona, and ambiance. But it isn’t a total rip-off. There is much more late-1990s grunge than Type O Negative-only influence.

Soundgarden (“Pill Head”) is the first band that comes to mind – A Pale Horse Named Death’s gothic stylings lean toward Soundgarden’s brand of doom-y grunge. But there are also hints of hard rock like Rob Zombie (“Bath In My Blood”), Buckcherry, and other 1990s L.A. glam outfits (“Serial Killer”), as well as classic rock n’ roll like the Beatles and Rolling Stones (“Cracks In The Walls”). This isn’t a huge surprise, as while he has been drumming for a long time, Abruscato has undoubtedly picked up many licks he likes on the guitar from other places, and this is the amalgamation of those licks.

The big question, of course, is if it works. The answer is this: “And Hell Will Follow Me” works in short doses. There are some interesting ideas and sections – like the industrial buzz of “Bad Dream” or the sleazy guitar creep of “Meet The Wolf” – but in general there isn’t anything that jumps from the speakers screaming “Listen to me!”

The songs are well played, arranged and produced, but they aren’t exciting. The hooks, such as they are, don’t grab, the songs rarely change intensity or tone, Abruscato’s vocals aren’t aurally arresting like Peter Steele’s (although that may be an unfair, if natural, comparison). Ultimately nothing is surprising. So go ahead and stick “And Hell Will Follow Me” in your iPod shuffle playlist, as any of these songs are a nice shot of something a bit different when riding the bus, but this won’t be anywhere near your 2011 Top Ten List.

Highs: “As Black As My Heart” has the strongest hook on the album.

Lows: There are no surprises – it is a very monochrome album.

Bottom line: Type O Negative drummer and founder gives workmanlike, if unspectacular, performance as band leader.

Rated 3.0 out of 5 skulls
3.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)