Rising from the ashes of another Hex Records band, Building on Fire, Achilles has made a loud statement with their first full-length, The Dark Horse. Achilles might be recognizable to those who heard their split CD with labelmates Engineer last year. The Dark Horse was produced by Evan Patterson of Black Cross and Breather Resist notoriety and engineered at Chris Owens' (from Lords) studio. Achilles definitely has an affinity for the current Louisville crop of bands. Yes, Achilles has math-metal tendencies that channel the spirit of the musical behemoth that was Botch. One can hear this influence throughout this record, but Achilles go one step further and add a more garage rock feel to it. The vocals are consistently strong throughout the album and the musicianship is extremely well executed. Still, I kept hoping for something a little more from this record, almost like it was just missing some subtle element.
The Dark Horse opens strong with a powerful ditty entitled "Every Hour Wounds, the Last One Kills." A vicious, pounding rhythm serves as the backbone to this opening shot and it foreshadows what one can expect from this four-piece. This song also has guest vocals by Steve Sindoni of Breather Resist. Achilles follows that up with "Ivory" which is another stand out track that has guest vocals by Ryan Patterson of Black Cross and Coliseum. There is a definite foot stomping feel to the mood of this song that also has some excellent angular guitar sounds. The title track is all over the place and is a borderline musical mess that just never goes over that edge; that specifically gives the song a train wreck waiting-to-happen feel. There are more flashes of potential all over Dark Horse. The album ends on an instrumental piece entitled ")))" that is surprisingly short and to the point.
Overall, Achilles cranks out an admirable record that shows that they have potential to take on even the heaviest off their math-metal brethren. Not to say that this is all the band is because that would be a disservice to the well written whole that is The Dark Horse. The album just seemed to be missing that little sound that would truly make them unique and fresh. A worthwhile listen, The Dark Horse is definitely a sign of good things to come from Achilles, provided they soldier on as a band.
6.8 / 10
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