DARK HORSE | WHITE HORSE – DARK HORSE | WHITE HORSE (EP)
Author: Leanne Evans
A “dark horse”, according to the Cambridge Dictionary, is described as “a person who keeps their interests and ideas secret, especially someone who has a surprising ability or skill”. The irony doesn’t escape that exciting new project, DARK HORSE | WHITE HORSE, consisting of veterans of the Dutch music scene who have far from shied away from their immense talents and already showcased what they’re made of to the world. Pouring their souls into the brand new self-titled EP, DARK HORSE | WHITE HORSE is the brainchild of Marcela Bovio (ex-Stream Of Passion, MaYaN, Ayreon), Jord Otto (ex-ReVamp, ex-VUUR, My Propane) and Ruben Wijga (ex-ReVamp, Blackbriar). After working together in different bands and musical projects, the trio saw an opportunity to combine their skills and influences to create a unique mix of progressive and symphonic metal. The end result is a truly spectacular masterpiece and a mesmerizingly breathtaking aural experience. From the honeyed, but immensely powerful, vocals of the extraordinarily talented Marcela, to the bone-crushing riffs, blistering keyboard leads and inhumanly tight drums, this is a listening pleasure like no other.
The self-titled EP is nothing short of an awe-inspiring masterpiece, with all shades of sound to satisfy you. Opening track, “Judgement Day”, announces itself through dispersing incessant riffs, like pure bullets of brutality, ultimately giving way to a playfully sultry tempo and smooth vocals. It’s delightfully unexpected and the contradiction of initial full-frontal aggression, combined with Marcela‘s clean vocals, is a welcome breath of fresh air. It has to be said, Marcela‘s vocal range and pitch is to die for and an electrifyingly out-of-this-world experience in itself ; the hybrid of powerful thematic, aggressive instrumental and smooth vocals in this track is incredible. The continuation of cleverly structured composition delves further, and DARK HORSE | WHITE HORSE showcase their innate ability to execute true symphonic power with overtly progressive tones exceptionally, as seen once again in “Black Hole”. The real brilliance of this track is that the band cement the incredibly emotive conveyance of such a dark thematic through sonics ; it’s absolutely magnificent and encapsulates the feeling of being trapped, in an intriguing and gripping way. From the initial high-speed tempo of rage, through to layered sound that’s broken right down, almost stripping itself back to a raw state, then built up once more with a mesh of guitar and Siebe‘s bass line, is perfect (note: Siebe Sol Sijpkens (ex-Phantom Elite) and Ariën van Weesenbeek (Epica, Mayan) are session musicians on this EP). Ruben‘s stunningly lilting keyboard line really comes through and the sad resignation of eternal incarceration is emotively projected in the vocals with an operatic quality in places.
Listening to “Dark Horse| White Horse”, you quickly realise the musicians’ prowess and effortless finesse of each track’s delivery. “The Spider” is no exception and the intricacy of overlaid guitar, deeply immersed bass and Ariën‘s tight drum line creates a beauteous web-like quality and a delicate melodic tone, the toyed rhythm playfully penetrating you. Marcela‘s bewitching range dazzles, her voice is absolutely unstoppable and has such a captivating quality, literally blowing you away with its powerful presence. In my personal opinion, the vocals throughout “Dark Horse | White Horse” out-do the likes of Tarja Turunen and Floor Jansen ; Marcela really is THAT divine! “Get Out” continues with alluring and enticing tones with plenty of gripping facets throughout the track to stir you, as does “Cursed”. The track blisters with Jord‘s brutal opening riffs and transpires as the most progressive piece on the album, completely unflinching in delivery and yet another masterful composition from DARK HORSE | WHITE HORSE ; their brilliance is seemingly endless.
DARK HORSE | WHITE HORSE come with unmistakable, unbending confidence and an artistry like no other, clearly only something achieved and mastered by seasoned musicians. The razor-sharp riffing, the blanket of sound layered throughout to enhance the listening pleasure, everything delivered is cleverly climactic. The familiar sounds of MaYaN and ReVamp certainly pull through the EP, but DARK HORSE | WHITE HORSE equally create their own uniqueness. The melodious tone of Marcela‘s euphonious vocals is enrapturing and holds you spellbound ; her voice alone is good enough reason to listen to “Dark Horse | White Horse”, but the band as a collective is absolutely INSATIABLE and had me wonderstruck from the minute I tuned into the opening track. I’ve mused whether there is some kind of wizardry involved ; surely a band can’t be THIS bewitching and spellbinding without the help of pure sorcery? Clearly, the magic of DARK HORSE | WHITE HORSE is the stupefying creativity of their craft and their latest release is a beguiling incantation of epic proportion. They are, most certainly, supernatural symphonic splendour, though.