Touche Amore – …To The Beat of a Dead Horse

March 23rd, 2010 by Eric Loose

Touche Amore”s … To The Beat Of A Dead Horse, is a record to take seriously. One look at the ominous cover can tell you that. A harrowing black and white cover complete with trite symbolism in the form of a foreboding rain cloud certainly displays a feeling of danger, ominousness, and even foreboding doom. Touche Amore are just one of the many recent bands to integrate emo and hardcore music. The most striking aspect is that no song hurdles the 3 minute mark. Short and pithy, … To The Beat is a screamo-influenced modern hardcore record with a melodic twist. Too much genre?… my apologies, but … To The Beat Of A Dead Horse really is a superb blend of genre-bending qualities.

It”s hard to separate this record from the anguish and agony (present on the cover, even) that bedevils the living daylights out of Touche Amore. From the lucid songwriting to the cathartic stops/starts, to the overall bluntness of this record, Touche Amore sound incredibly disturbed, in a good way. The screams are particularly poignant, as rather than furiously scream cryptically, frontman Jeremy howls his words slowly and comprehensibly. Jeremy isn”t he only voice in … To The Beat, though. Thursday”s Geoff Rickly lends his voice on the melodic, “History Reshits Itself,” which works surprisingly well; along with an appearance from Modern Life Is War frontman, Jeffrey Eaton, later on.

The riffs reflect this quality of comprehensibility as the more prodding, deliberate guitar lines are evident rather than the usual intricacy associated with similar bands. Many times repetition is used among the screams, just take a listen to the end of

“Cadence,” and the refrain of the title, “I am marching to the beat of a dead horse.” While it certainly focuses attention on the screaming, it feels like we”re missing out on a lost facet of the music, as the overly simplified guitars tend to fade into the background. In their place though, among the controlled yet chaotic screaming, is superb percussion. The drumming on … To The Beat Of A Dead Horse is driving, violent, and forceful, and keeps the album moving swiftly and surely. The lyrics are often moving and passionate, and one of the album”s biggest strengths is Touche Amore”s uncanny ability to fit so much substance into such a small package. … To The Beat”s exceptional brevity is on full display on one track in particular, “Nine.” Clocking in at 0:44, “Nine” is a testament to Touche Amore”s ability to fit so much lush emotion into such a little space. “I’m biting the hairs on my arm like I do / when I don’t know where I am or what I should do. / I’ve been blessed with these eyes that come with innocent questions, / like where I’m from, holding expectations / to give obvious answers and tell no lies. / But I swear there’s nothing innocent in these eyes, / because I’ve seen dead friends, / and I’ve seen murder, / and I’ve done things I wish I hadn’t done.”

… To The Beat Of A Dead Horse is short and sweet, yet refuses lose any passion in the process. Despite the minor fault of over-simplicity at points, Touche Amore”s debut full length is incredibly promising. Don”t be too intimidated by the ominous clouds overhead, … To The Beat Of A Dead Horse is as rewarding as it is agonizing, and it”s pretty agonizing.

Recommended Songs:

Honest Sleep


History Reshits Itself


Overall Grade: 84% B

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