Chapel Hill’s Jenks Miller, aka Horseback, aims for the transcendent, dreamy, ecstatic, hypnotic, enveloping, life-affirming glow of classic New York minimalism, Düsseldorf krautrock and North Carolina math rockbut just happens to draw upon the icy spirit of black metal as his avenue. His second proper album, The Invisible Mountain, was released last year on Milwaukee’s gloom-minded micro-indie, Utech, but its decidedly unique contents generated enough buzz to score a reissue (and a forthcoming future release) on the mighty Relapse Records, with a very sexy clear vinyl import available via Aurora Borealis.
It’s apparent from the opening pummel of “Invokation” that, unlike cloud-gazer contemporaries Liturgy or Wolves In The Throne Room, Miller would rather be Rhys Chatham than La Monte Young, clamoring toward euphoria with more groove-centric white space than blackened blast ‘n’ blur. Throughout the record’s psych-soaked first half, his slowly unfurling monster riffs embrace rock traditions more than they subvert themmostly thanks to the sledgehammer-hard, Sabbath-meets-Tortoise drumming of Caltrop’s John Crouch. But the pulseless 16-minute closer, “Hatecloud Dissolving Into Nothing,” reinvents his more drone-minded heroesTony Conrad, Phill Niblock, Christian Fenneszinto a widescreen exorcism of backmasked strings, desolate acoustic strum, marrow-sucking growls and chiming church bells. This is essential, blood-soaked bliss.