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Dead Horse Trauma - "Tellus Hodiernus Caducus" (CD)

Dead Horse Trauma - "Tellus Hodiernus Caducus" CD cover image

"Tellus Hodiernus Caducus" track listing:

1. No Recollection (4:26)
2. Disbelief (4:31)
3. Night Terrors (4:05)
4. Repercussions (4:38)
5. The Great Dissolve (4:35)
6. Mr. Critical (4:03)
7. Screwdriver (5:16)
8. Sinister (3:39)
9. Media Showers (4:17)
10. Cessation (4:21)

Reviewed by on September 26, 2011

"Continuing to melt together metal, hardcore, and a bit of rock, the band’s latest album has ratcheted up the heaviness and taken the in-your-face attitude even farther than before."

A major step up from debut album “Infestation,” and a sure stop on the band’s stated goal of global domination, Dead Horse Trauma’s “Tellus Hodiernus Caducus” is an improvement in nearly every way from past efforts. Continuing to melt together metal, hardcore, and a bit of rock, the band’s latest album has ratcheted up the heaviness and taken the in-your-face attitude even farther than before.

Dropping much, but not all, of the clean vocals and nu-metal influences, everything on this release shows a band moving forward and taking the music to a higher level. Besides just simply an improvement in the actual quality of the production, each track is more coherent and the album is more unified. The songs this time around are heavier on the low end and generally more brutal overall than anything heard from Dead Horse Trauma before, and the end result is a groove-laden metalcore that’s heavy enough to crack skulls and still get a crowd to go nuts in the pit.

Moving outside the boundaries of groove and metalcore, the album works to establish its own identity by throwing in unexpected twists at times, usually in the form of dark sci-fi style sound effects and atmosphere. “Mr. Critical” draws in surprisingly discordant influences from black and death metal, as does the follow-up track “Screwdriver,” which has a darker feel and a slowly building chug that mixes up the melody with the heaviness in the right doses.

There are still instances of a nu-metal aesthetic that probably won’t please metal elitists (“Disbelief” featuring Myke Terry of Bury Your Dead having the most in common with the last album), and the heavy feedback sound on the screamed vocals does occasionally make songs sound overly similar, but the overall package here is completely headbang-worthy. “Tellus Hodiernus Caducus” makes huge strides forward for Dead Horse Trauma, and can appeal either to fans who want groove or metalheads who need a heavier musical assault.

Highs: Influences come from a wider range of sounds on this album than before, and it hits a great balance between groove and heaviness.

Lows: Some songs still have more nu-metal or half-rap, half-growl going than is strictly necessary in the year 2011.

Bottom line: A serious step up for Dead Horse Trauma, mixing up a groovy metalcore with influences from more brutal styles.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 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)