Submerge – Heavy gets horny: Horseneck’s debut LP is a dynamic trip

Horseneck will be celebrating the release of their debut with an LP release show at Harlow’s on Feb. 17.

By Ryan Prado, Submerge

Anthony Paganelli has been at a monster truck rally all day long with his son. When Submerge catches up with Horseneck’s guitarist/vocalist (affectionately called “Pag”), he’s slightly frazzled by the spectacle of the subculture drawn to such an affair, lamenting the unbroken yelps of a patron directly behind him for the entirety of the event. It’s an interesting anecdote, considering Paganelli’s notoriety as a bit of a screamer himself. The drain of the day’s events could be why most of the rest of Horseneck admit some confusion when our interview begins.

“We cleaned the house for this phone interview, just so you know,” says guitarist Lance Jackman.

Paganelli interjects, “Apparently I forgot to tell them this was a phone interview.”

“This is for the cover of Rolling Stone, right?” adds Jackman.

Levity is an undeniable ingredient in Horseneck’s auditory alchemy. The band—rounded out by drummer Jess Gowrie and bassist Lennon Hudson—are gearing up for the release of their first full-length album, Heavy Trip, which they are self-releasing. Unlike the somewhat spastic stoner thrashers of the band’s duo of 2013 EP releases, Heavy Trip was endeavored from the outset as a fuller, more realized artistic vision for Horseneck.

“The two EPs were essentially early songs that I just wrote quickly and didn’t put too much thought into,” admits Paganelli of the Belly Full of Blood and The Worst People Ever EPs. Both EPs were originally released only digitally via Artery Recordings, with whom the band cut ties shortly after. Consequently, neither EP can be heard online, save for a scant few YouTube clips.

Heavy Trip, on the other hand, revels in its musical inclusivity. Writing as a group for the first time, Horseneck fortified its typically ferocious brand of sludge-y, riff-forward metal with more expansive instrumentation—namely lots of keyboards and horns.

No, not devil horns. We’re talking brass here.

Existing somewhere within the sonic field of Murder City Devils and Red Fang, Heavy Trip sounds like a band unafraid to push the coveted tenets of heavy music to more nuanced volumes.

“We went into it with expectations of doing more,” says Paganelli. “Then we got silly and thought, ‘What if we put some horns on it? Maybe some background singers?’”

The result is no less abrasive on tunes like “P.A.G.,” a particularly punishing exhibition of stoner-metal that folds in tasteful B3 organ work, an accoutrement that levies new ciphers of sound into an otherwise brutish composition.

“There are some songs, like ‘Hangman,’ where there is so much going on in it that no one would know unless they were here recording it with us,” says Jackman, who recorded Heavy Trip at his studio, The Dock.

“Hangman” is perhaps the record’s most dynamic track, blooming slowly from a droning mellotron/trumpet intro flourished by a slide guitar lead before more organs, refined drumming and thudding bass begin to open a wormhole of impending noise. The song’s shapeshifting is indicative of Horseneck’s varied musical inspirations, as well as their desire to feature both the light and dark of their nature as a band.

“We’re the band that every person in a band wants to be in but can’t because everyone is too serious all the time,” explains Paganelli. “If we wanna put horns on our record, we’ll put horns on our record. We’re just doing it for ourselves.”

Read the rest over at Submerge.

When: 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 17

Where: Harlow’s, 2708 J Street

Cost: $10 – $12

Information: Harlows.com