Review: “Host Rider” by Zebadiah Crowe

Influenced by the writings of H.P. Lovecraft, Clive Barker and Edgar Allan Poe, Forrrthen (Guitars) and The Horrid (Vocals, Bass, Drum Programming) are a duo who create music that sits in the space between Blackened Thrash, Industrial Metal and Grindcore in their outlet Zebadiah Crowe. Having the same influences as Ministry and Cradle of Filth and creating something completely different is a mouthwatering prospect. The duo have been working on the project since 2006 with “Holy Rider” marking their third full length album behind 2013’s “Omak k’aah” and 2010’s “Grawl! The Many Deaths of the Great Beast” and a pair of splits and a demo in between times. Both men are also prolific musicians with their fingers in many pies, being current and former members of the likes of Burn the Yeti, Gilla Bruja, Nomadic Reign, Phlefonyaar, Tirgoviste, Skrugg, St. Fenton the Tainted and Zompok.

As with most programmed drums “Knucklebones” has that relentless quality and metronomic perfection while having that cold edge and lack of feel as it tears through the track like a banshee on the war path. The riffs are low slung and dirty with those late 80s Industrial Metal vibes running through them and there is a distinct flavour of Jumpman without the Nintendo themes or synths they offer. The raw, feral and punishing listen continues into “A Tunchure of Malice“, while you can hear the Hard Rock sensibilities of Therapy? Underneath the layers of white noise and raucous, rancid and venous lyrics. There is that air of familiarity about the overall sound that gives it an instant warmth, despite its cold industrial bleak nature. “Mantel of Nails and Orphan Skin” throws into the mix some 90s PC game style synths while having a riff that sounds like it should accompany a high octane motorcycle chase in a low budget action film. It’s barbed and violent with blood flowing freely in the form of those poison pen lyrical rants. No, there is no room for a ballad.

The Zeon Goat of Crimson Grief” takes the adrenaline ride up a notch as the storyline becomes more horrific and the vocals more like nails down a chalkboard. Imagine for a moment the urge to vomit but having your mouth sewn shut. It’s more intricate drum patterns and frenzied, frenetic guitars are urgent and discordant but maintain that high level of precision and control that makes the music seem almost effortless with its jarring styles.  That abrasive nature plunges us into the rotting flesh themes of “A Horror To The Eyes of Saintly Men“, which was one of the pre-release singles, a track about a beast that rises from the depths for an annual killing spree. Sonically a fine summary piece for the album sound, it’s staccato riffs are broken by sections of distorted samples and eerie synths that makes it a white knuckle rollercoaster ride an addictive listen. Those guitars are dirge laden and rhythmically focused which makes all the difference between order and chaos. The skull crushing intensity of “Godblind and Destitute” continues the path of destruction while reminding of the lawless cannibals, The Angel Gang in the badlands outside of Mega City One in Judge Dredd. The bestial vocal abrasions are pushed by the content of the lyrics and the weight of the guitars driving through them. There are some buried Orchestral sounds in the horror onslaught of  “Wormhavens Dance” that only enhance the twisted, driven vitriol of the bloodcurdling vocals and gives Anaal Nathrakh a run for their money at the same time [7.5/10]

Track listing

  1. Knucklebones
  2. A Tinchute of Malice
  3. Mantel of Nails and Orphan Skin
  4. The Zeon Goat of Crimson Grief
  5. A Horror To The Eyes of Saintly Men
  6. Godblind and Destitute
  7. Wormhavens Dance

Host Rider” by Zebadiah Crowe is out now via Lore Breaker Records

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