A Pale Horse Named Death – Infernum In Terra (Album Review)

Although the year 2020 was not expected to turn out quite as doom and gloom as it did, on a musical standpoint, some positives did crawl out of it in the end. In the world of Gothic-inspired Doom Metal, A Pale Horse Named Death stayed busy writing a brand new album titled Infernum In Terra that is set to finally see the light of day on September 24th, 2021 thanks to Long Branch Records.

For the Brooklyn based band, led by Sal Abruscato (formerly of Type O Negative), Infernum In Terra marks their fourth studio album in an 11-year existence. While unique in their own right, they are often described as having an essence of Alice In Chains mixed with some Black Sabbath doom. However, the Gothic touch is the icing on the cake that really grabs your attention, forcing them into a peaceful trance state upon each listen.

Inspired by the isolation and devastation of the pandemic, Infernum In Terra speaks volumes. Although he gained notoriety as the original drummer of Type O Negative, Abruscato has grown into quite the inspired frontman on guitar and vocals. His somber tone mixed with Doom based riffs carry a torch through a musical purgatory with no complaints.

Starting off the 11-song album is the intro track “Infernum,” featuring some overlaid tracks that sound like a creepy ritual gathering in the darkness. It is a similar vibe to what is portrayed visually on the album’s cover, which features a skeleton in shrouds surrounded by needy onlookers. But they climb out of this for “Believe In Something (You Are Lost),” which sets the pace nicely for what’s to come.

“Cast Out From The Sky” is completely mesmerizing from start to finish, at almost seven minutes long, and even leaves you wanting more. Meanwhile, “Shards Of Glass” reeks of pure personal turmoil  and has a definite Layne Staley undertone, which just enhances its appeal. With vibes shooting straight off of that, “Lucifer’s Son” has that perfect Stoner/Doom/Trance feel mixed with Post-Grunge undertones.

At the LP’s midpoint a short one minute interlude comes into play, dominated by a female voice to break the listener out of their current trance just long enough to prepare for the rest of the battle. And with quite a few songs being over six minutes long, it’s an enjoyable war that, surprisingly, never feels like it drags. The pace and score are just perfect, carrying the soul of us all to hell and back in the most diabolical yet pleasant way possible. In this, catching a ride on the “Two Headed Snake” proves a great idea.

But they follow up the joy ride with the very beautiful, piano-dominated “Slave To The Master.” This is all about that inner struggle every intelligent human goes through multiple times in their lifetime, and how sometimes just letting go of the reins for a minute can give so much clarity to a dark time. To finalize an overall creative, passionate, and well-crafted album are “Reflections Of The Dead,” an epic journey of darkness and peace, as well as another piano-dominated offering, “Souls In The Abyss,” restless souls that find the calm at the end of the storm.

As the name A Pale Horse Named Death implies, those who are comfortable with the darkness, somber solitude, and mystery of death can, and will, find themselves in a peaceful trance-like state during the entire journey of this album. As a more mournful follow-up to 2018’s When The World Becomes Undone, this 2021 release, Infernum In Terra, has a striking impact upon first listen. Since every listen after has even more to offer, Cryptic Rock has no choice but to give A Pale Horse Named Death’s latest work of art a 5 out of 5 stars. Live, love, and don’t fear the reaper when he brings you tunes like these!

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