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16 Horsepower have forged a legacy of classic albums. Vocalist/lyricist David Eugene Edwards, the grandson of a traveling Nazarene preacher, spins tales of sin and redemption against an evocative, stripped-down backdrop. Olden is a collection of never-bef
Since their start in the early '90s, 16 Horsepower have created and perfected a sound that's build around a fascinating, elegiac pulse. Albums such as 2002's Folklore are inundated in jet-black rivers of dread. That sense of foreboding is found in this collection of 12 previously unreleased demons and early live tracks earlier, expressed in lead songwriter David Eugene Edwards's cracked, terrified screeches and the muscular, edgy acoustic music. The demo recording of "Coal Black Horses" (a finished version appears on their self-titled debut) throws a messy slide guitar and throbbing brush beat behind Edwards's fire-and-brimstone rant. Meanwhile, the live tracks from 1994 demonstrate the band's developing chops and emerging theatrical flourishes that characterize their more recent work. --Matthew Cooke
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Top Customer Reviews
Unlike many early demo albums, I think this one holds it's own quite nicely. This was actually my introduction to the band, and it is still my favorite. The rawness of the sound fits the raw intensity of the band perfectly.
Very highly recommended.
Olden left me shivering! Imagine yourself dropped down into a funeral or revival in some deep, dark part of Appalachia; there are odd people dancing around the dead body of their grandfather...or sister...or cousin. There is a band playing in the corner; this is Sixteen Horsepower's Olden.
The amazing thing is that this is not a coherent studio album, but a collection from their first ten years of existence. You might never know it from listening as it is one long trip into the heart of darkness that is southern gothic.
These songs are at the same time haunting and darkly spiritual. Sixteen Horsepower are the darker side of belief revealed.
A Guide to my Music Rating System:
1 star = Not worth the blood dripping from your ears/
2 stars = Don't bother, clean your bathroom instead.
3 stars = Wasn't a waste of time, but it was time wasted.
4 stars = Good music, but not life altering.
5 stars = This music changed my world in at least some small way.
12 tracks recorded over a two year period, 6 live tracks and two interview snippets. Despite being a hodgepodge assembly, "Olden" is remarkably coherent. 16 of the tracks made it to later albums and only two songs "Train Serenade" and "Slow Guilt Trot" make their debut here.
While many would consider this an unnecessary, redundant release, it is actually superior in many ways to the major label versions that would appear later. These versions are much more gritty, earthy and unpolished, a sound that suits 16HP creaky bandoneon, jangly guitars, plunking banjo and haunting vocals quite well.
Standout tracks include the apocalyptic "Coal Black Horses", the hypnotic "My Narrow Mind" and the driving "Slow Guilt Trot."