BY MICHAEL TOLAND
Today’s modern musician doesn’t bother with sticking to one genre and one genre only. Case in point: Jenks Miller. Besides being the guitar foil for Heather McEntire in rootsy alt.rock act Mount Moriah and a solo picker of rising note, Miller also leads Horseback, a project that itself straddles multiple stylistic pathways. Though best known for experimental black metal (cf. the LPs The Invisible Mountain and Half Blood), Horseback also indulges in a more sedate, near ambient brand of psychedelic moodiness, which is the focus of Piedmont Apocrypha.
“Milk and Honey,” “Consecration Blues” and “Passing Through” float gently on acid rock melodies stripped down to near-nudity, wafting prettily if not substantially. The real power resides in the title tune and “Chanting Out the Low Shadow,” extended pieces that allow Miller and whoever’s nearby to weave more complicated tapestries and build intensity. The latter incorporates Miller’s black metal rasp, clean vocals and a swelling crescendo of brooding darkness. Horseback’s best work usually comes when it mixes its two musical ideologies into one album, but Piedmont Apocrypha satisfies even with the metal edge sanded off.
DOWNLOAD: “Chanting Out the Low Shadow,” “Piedmont Apocrypha,”