Written By: Matthew Chernus
You hear about it all of the time: a bunch of dudes meet and bond over a mutual love for bands like Aerosmith and Thin Lizzy. A case of beer later they decide to start not just a band but the greatest rock band there ever was. Of course that is a lofty goal that is never realized but the world has received a lot of above average copy cat bands through this three decade old rite of passage. Night Horse is one of a long list of the aftermath of said passage (count the Answer and Buckcherry among the more notable), carrying on a dusty tradition of solos, bellbottoms and partying.
Sam James Velde stands tall as an old-school rock front man. With no guitar weighing him down Velde is free to prance around like his heroes while trying to emulate everything from Zeppelin to Dangerous Toys. He has the goods too if you still like your rock reeking of 1991; sounding raw, destitute and in heat he summons the best of what is largely a forgotten era in rock.
‘Shine on me’ is a serious rocker. Night Horse sound like a straight forward, no apologies Jackyl cover band… and it sounds all sorts of alright. It’s obvious that this is nothing new (in fact it’s hilariously dated) but that takes nothing away from this booze soaked gem. It rattles and bruises its way into your heart; full of the swagger and black eyes of the first bar band you ever caught wind of.
‘Worried Life Blues’ is a half hearted attempt at a blues session; it ends up going nowhere leaving you wonder why you paid the cover at the door. It’s lost among the arena rock brawlers that make up the rest of this record but it’s not without its own charm. What raucous hair metal band didn’t try their hands at blues rock with their own horrible and embarrassing results?
Night Horse is a surprise within a disappointment. These guys can probably party circles around most bands, they have their hearts and influences in the right place but it sounds dated and not in the traditional stoner rock, Black Sabbath biter sort of way. The world is full of well done Sabbath clones but if it’s southern boogie rock you want it is best to stick to the first Jackyl record.