Thursday, May 11, 2006

Highway To Haaga


  • Dead Horse "Like Asrielle"

  • Dead Horse "Forgive"

  • Just now on my way home from work (yes, i actually DO have a job) a car pulled up to me with some dude wanting to say something to me. Now this being Los Angeles, I was fully prepared for him to start waving a gun or perhaps offer to sell me some of his homemade porn movies. Instead he commended me on the Dead Horse bumper sticker I have on my car. "Where'd you get that Dead Horse sticker, bro?!?" he exclaimed as four cars behind him laid on their horns. "I got it from a friend of mine from New Orleans" I replied. "That's fucking awesome! Those guys are my friends!" he yelled as the guy in the car behind him rifled through his glove compartment looking for his baretta. "Alright, cool man!" was all I could think to say before speeding away, fearing the angry Angelenos we were holding up.

    I can understand the guy's reaction. Dead Horse made records out of Houston in the nineties. They were an accomplished heavy metal band that wrote great songs. I found out about them through a friend of mine (the one from New Orleans) who is probably their biggest fan in the world. Apparently they had a devoted following for their live shows, but they never quite caught on outside their local area. They released several albums themselves, until 'Peaceful Death and Pretty Flowers' was released on Big Chief Records (it was recently re-issued on Relapse Records. Dead Horse's last gasp at attempting to be heard nationwide was 'Feed Me', an EP that was allegedly a demo tape intended for a major record label. After this record failed to garner attention, primary songwriter Michael Haaga left Dead Horse, who released one more record before disbanding.
  • Dead Horse "Rock Lobster"

  • Much like NECROPHAGIST, Dead Horse take a technical approach to metal. But unlike the "Prophets of Metal", it's not so much death metal as it is thrash. Much like the fact that it's not so much me as it is Roenick. I know the untrained ear may not think there's a difference between the two, but believe me there is. I've decided to put up their cover of "Rock Lobster" by the B-52s, mostly because it's familiarity, but also to show that this is a metal band who's not afraid to cover Fred Schneider. In songs like "Like Asrielle" and "Forgive" you can hear the punk influence, the metal influence, the sense of humor and the promise that this band showed.
  • The Demonseeds "Fail"

  • The Demonseeds "Death To Love"

  • Haaga went on to form the Demonseeds, who put out their only record "Knee Deep In Hell's Grasp". The album showed new direction for metal, melding it with southern rock sensibilities even more than Dead Horse's recordings had.

  • Michael Haaga "If And When"

  • These days, Michael Haaga is still writing genius songs, but they're not quite in the thrash vein anymore. He wrote and recorded "The Plus And Minus Show" with his new band in 2004, his first solo effort to my knowledge. "The Plus And Minus Show" is a departure from Dead Horse, it's more of a pop record, but the same sensibilities are there. Haaga has crafted a brilliant showcase for his musical ideas, and songs like "If And When" and "Looking Beyond" dare you to listen to them only once. It's catchy and clever at the same time. Outliving the looming shadow of Dead Horse is a laborious enterprise, but Haaga achieves it gracefully. The video for "If And When" tells the story of a boy and his egg, topped off by a performace by Haaga's band in a chicken coop.
  • "If And When" music video - directed by Ken Mowe

  • And so, since a random person reminded me about the bumper sticker on my car, I came home and played the fuck out of Haaga and Dead Horse. I'm sure that guy is doing the same thing right now too.

  • Plus And Minus Show Official Site

    Anonymous kenneth said...


    12:45 AM PDT  

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