As a resident of Florida, I’ll go ahead and say that while it has it’s charm just like anywhere else, it certainly can be a terrible place to inhabit much of the time, specifically from a weather standpoint. A good 10 months out of the year the main mode of weather here is hot, humid and uncomfortable as hell. Maybe that’s why so many of Florida’s metal and hardcore bands seem to thrive on chaos. Horsewhip are one such entity, members from legendary 90’s screamo bands Combatwoundedveteran and Reversal of Man but take the psychotic energy of those aforementioned bands in a much darker, dense and metallic direction, blending the the sonic force of that prime era of emotional hardcore with the anthemic metallic crust of His Hero Is Gone and Tragedy to great effect, culminating in a level of controlled chaos that they’ve continued to hone through several releases.
Consume And Burn stands as the band’s third full length record and their first full length and their first for Iodine Records, and much has changed since then: their lead vocalist departed, a second guitarist was added, and their original guitarist and bassist took up the mantle of sharing vocal duties for the band in lieu of adding a new stand alone vocalist. This new incarnation of the band was first heard on their excellent split with like minded Florida chaotic hardcore band Yashira, and was a clear indication that their best was yet to come. The sole track on that split “Circadian Rhythm” closes out Consume And Burn, but not before Horsewhip tear through a maelstrom of chaotic hardcore via 6 other absolute barnburner songs and a brief atmospheric interlude placed at the midpoint. Clocking in at just under 20 minutes in length, intensity is certainly the aim here and it’s clear Horsewhip have spent years honing control of it. You can practically feel the members vocal chords shredding, perfectly placed amidst an absolutely blistering rhythm section that keeps a relentless pace and never fails to hit with ruthless force.
That’s not to say that Horsewhip are unaware of when to allow these songs to breathe . Moments like the melodic build up near the end of “Pain” bring to mind the hypnotic post metal of Isis, and the somber and haunting lone guitar at the end of “Plague Machine” bringing about an unexpected ending to one of this record’s most hard hitting songs. While the majority of Consume and Burn is laser focused on white knuckle intensity, it stays memorable throughout when coupled with plenty of killer guitarwork and some of the grooviest moments I’ve heard on a metallic hardcore album in recent memory. It also helps that an absolutely massive recording from John Howard of War House Recordings ensures that this is the biggest and brightest the band has ever sounded. There’s an astounding level of sonic clarity here that never strays into the unwanted territory of sounding too polished, and it’s frankly an impressive feat to have a record of compositions this chaotic and intense that never feels too muddy, with not a single part of the band’s sound feeling buried under others at any time. All of these elements coalesce (great band but mathcore pun not intended) into what is easily the strongest effort from these Florida natives yet.
Bottom Line: Having the pedigree of much celebrated and now legendary bands can always be a daunting task, but Consume And Burn proves that Horsewhip are a band that have absolutely not intention on coasting by on the respect and history of previous projects. This is far and wide the strongest set of songs from the band to date, an upgrade on their previous material in every conceivable way, and shows a band ready to turn the heads of anyone who’s a fan of chaotic, forward thinking metallic hardcore.