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HORSE the band is a Nintendocore band from Los Angeles, a band that creates metalcore music and mixes this with retro Nintendo noises. Nintendocore is actually a tongue-in-cheek expression first coined by the HORSE the band vocalist Nathan Winneke, a sub-genre of metalcore and a label that has been used to describe a vast array of bands over the years. 'The Mechanical Hand' was released in 2005 through Combat Records, the album consists of a total of thirteen tracks and is an interesting creation of music to say the least.
I wouldn't say that 'The Mechanical Hand' is a particularly good album; it provides for quite an entertaining listening experience however and for those that love their retro Nintendo computer games this music should be of great appeal (unless of course the idea of screamed vocals puts you off entirely). The music created here is full of stops and starts, it must be said that the continuity of the album isn't great but nonetheless some of the tracks created here truly are strong. Several references to characters from the Mario series of computer games are made here, track titles such as 'Birdo' and 'The House of Boo' refer directly to Mario characters and the lyrics here are particularly powerful. I'm a great lover of all things Nintendo, lyrics that refer to my beloved Nintendo computer game characters are therefore always of great interest to me and 'The Mechanical Hand' is for that very reason an album that I greatly enjoy listening to. The music is not always hugely appealing, the lyrics however are and it is this element of the album that is particularly appealing to me here.
Song structure is not a great feature of this album, technical prowess has never been a fine point in the music of HORSE the band and therefore the way that some of the tracks progress here will potentially irritate you greatly. The tracks are not intelligently structured, little thought at all does in fact seem to have gone into the structuring of the songs on this album and some of the noises created here are as a result really rather foul. At times it seems that a lot more emphasis is put on creating an authentic 8-bit video game sound here than actually creating music that is enjoyable to listen to; as I say though the main part of the fun here is in listening to the lyrics that the band have written and the construction of the songs is therefore fairly irrelevant.
Although the lyrics are without doubt the strongest feature of this 'The Mechanical Hand' album, it must be said that there are in fact some strong keyboard creations present in the sound throughout the duration of this release. At times the music is quite headache inducing, at other however the 8-bit video game keyboard sounds are incredibly strong here and hugely powerful to listen to. With closing track 'The Black Hole' I feel that a particularly strong keyboard sound has here been constructed; it's by no means great and much of the rest of the track is instrumentally fairly terrible but still it's a sound that I do quite enjoy. Simple soundtracks with video games can often be utterly addictive, the theme music for Tetris for instance is one of my particular favourites and at various points throughout this album HORSE the band manage to successfully replicate 8-bit Nintendo sounds with a great level of expertise. The keyboard sound is often strong here, much of the rest of the instrumental output is not however and this is therefore detrimental to the overall outcome of the album.
As HORSE the band's second full length album I feel that 'The Mechanical Hand' is quite an interesting release to listen to, not for the music especially but more for the lyrics. For those that do not particularly appreciate screamed vocals then reading the bands lyrics rather than actually listening to the album would probably be best advised; you'll not be missing out on much really anyway. In a way this is quite a good album, some of the keyboard sounds created here are especially strong and the lyrics are excellent also, the problem is however that much of the rest of the album is poorly structured and the sound output of this 'The Mechanical Hand' release is therefore often nothing more than fairly irritating noise. It's not a bad album really, it's certainly got its positive points but it's by no means a classic. HORSE the band has been active as a band now since 1998, first album 'R. Borlax' is I feel a much better structured album and a lot more enjoyment can therefore be gained from giving the first album a listen instead of this one. If you like 'R. Borlax' definitely give 'The Mechanical Hand' a listen also, just don't expect it to be as good.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Million Exploding Suns
4 House Of Boo
5 Heroes Die
6 Softer Sounds
7 Octopus On Fire
8 Soaring Qualis
9 Taken By Vultures
10 Rusty Glove
12 Lord Gold Throneroom
13 Black Hole