A Pale Horse Named Death – When The World Becomes Undone

When The World Becomes Undone (Long Branch Records) is the type of album that at the initial scan I really wanted to love. I’ve discussed my fondness of all things early to mid-nineties Roadrunner Records ad nauseum on other reviews so I’ll spare you the love letter here, but with so much connection between A Pale Horse Named Death and Type O Negative you can likely understand where I’m coming from.

And much of what made up Type O Negative’s sound is inherited by A Pale Horse Named Death in the form of awesome guitar tone, Johnny Kelly’s precise drum work and indulging in lengthy song compositions. These elements are used brilliantly in ‘Fell In My Hole’ in which bassist Eric Morgan’s fat low-end and Kelly’s snare take a commanding lead. ‘We All Break Down’ mates heavy blues riffage and an overabundance of hooks and takes the shape of what I imagine a really heavy iteration of Stone Temple Pilots would sound like.

However, When The World Becomes Undone, much like yours truly, has some baggage to sort through. The principal fly in the musical ointment is a reliance on song formula. We have too many instances of interesting/heavy guitar bit to get us started which then takes a back seat to a mellow verse and sort of big choruses. If we’re lucky we can expect some very nice solos near the end of a track, but not all are guaranteed.

For all his guitar and drum talent, Sal Abruscato is a bit limited in his vocal range and this is a problem becomes highlighted when you realize how wordy these songs can be. This critique isn’t just for A Pale Horse Named Death but bands in general; not every inch of song needs vocals. And while we’re at it, When The World Becomes Undone could lose ‘Splinters’ and a couple of interludes.

And I know bringing up Type O Negative may seem unfair because frankly, we don’t know if we’ll get another musical anomaly like that again, but fortunately, A Pale Horse Named Death’s problems can be solved with some editorial adjustments.

6 / 10