The Lowdown: After six years, the “Brooklyn Lords of Doom” return for their third LP, When The World Becomes Undone. A Pale Horse Named Death’s use of catchy rock elements inside moody atmospheres makes for their most compelling record to date. Boasting former members of Type O Negative, A Pale Horse Named Death offer listeners a satisfying record full of gothic-doom.
The Good: The band does a superb job in establishing atmosphere from the start; in the title track, the guitars exude thick melancholy in each strum, the drums clashing at the right moment to catch the song’s emotional inflection. Sal Abruscato, who played drums in Type O Negative and Life of Agony, fronts A Pale Horse Named Death, and his vocals add to the atmosphere, bringing forth much of the album’s gothic vibe. Injecting melody into their material feeds into both the doom and rock flavor of the album, as well. Lyrically, the disc contains a plethora of intimate ideas and stories; in “Love the Ones You Hate”, you can feel sadness in the words: “Love the ones you love to hate/ Dancing devils in your parade.”
“Fell In My Hole” takes on a slower approach, emphasizing the doom qualities of the band. What works so well for the music is the balance in composition; A Pale Horse Named Death know when best to tap into the heavier components of their material (and vice versa for the slower atmospheric pieces). “Lay With the Wicked” unleashes a hectic blast of drum beats alongside a sultry guitar rhythm; as one of the record’s heavier songs, it makes for one of the band’s strongest moments of embracing that dual goth/doom quality.
The Bad: When the World Becomes Undone is not without its off moments. In particular, the instrumental component of the album’s midsection loses some traction. “Vultures” provides a generic vibe to its progression, lacking the more dynamic punch the tracks before it offered. “End of Days” feels like a loss of emotion, due primarily to its awkward instrumental composition. Minus the banging drums and a solo towards the end, the track slogs on for most of its runtime.
The Verdict: From misty distortion to emotional strings of melancholy, When the World Becomes Undone is a strong addition to the band’s discography. Despite a few missteps in its midsection, the album provides a solid collection of catchy instrumentation and atmosphere.
Essential Tracks: “When the World Becomes Undone”, “Lay With the Wicked”, “Dreams of the End”