Örebro Sweden’s Troubled Horse take their sweet-ass time recording music. It took them a decade until they released their stunning debut, Step Inside (Rise Above, 2012). Another half decade later and they’re finally unleashing their second album. The common descriptor as a 70s influenced hard rock band doesn’t even scratch the surface. Their influences really span several decades, including country, folk, blues, garage psych, NWOBHM, doom metal and desert/stoner rock. It was the country-soul twang that really set them apart on the first album, especially on their most powerful songs. They have largely moved on to a more driving, aggressive sound on Revolution On Repeat, which bristles with energy and anger. Case in point, “The Filthy Ones,” where Martin Heppech’s disgust is palpable when he spits, “Haven’t you heard? The future’s for the wealthy ones…Don’t you know that there’s no future for you?” The band proceeds to give the rich parasites a symbolic beat down.
Album opener “Hurricane” serves as a turbo-charged jump start in a similar way that “Tainted Water” did on the first. It fall short slightly but just barely, and only in comparison to a song that probably had several more years of honing in live shows. “Which Way To The Mob” is built around a catchy riff worthy of Thin Lizzy. After another quick blast of rock overdrive of the 2:56 “Peasants,” the band stretches out with the multi-faceted doom psych centerpiece “The Haunted.” Possibly a nod to Witchcraft, which a couple members served in, it’s one of the highlights. Nearing the seven minute mark, the song ends with mournful Jimmy Page-style guitar sobs, which sounds more like a segue. Indeed, the greatness doesn’t end, as “Desperation” feels like a continuation, this time with the band soaring on the kind of rollicking groove they do best. Between ascending chords, Heppech sounds more impassioned than ever, promising to “set you on fire.” Yes do that Martin, just like that.
“Track 7” seems like it could be a throwaway that the band couldn’t bother to come up with a title, but at this point the band is smoking, and there are no missteps. However, the next track is a bit of a curveball, bringing the mood and pace down with their cover of Warren Zevon’s “My Shit’s Fucked Up.” The twang is back, but this is pretty dark — this was about Zevon learning about his fatal diagnosis. Should we be concerned? Nobody better be dying in Troubled Horse, dammit. “Let Bastards Know” is a quick gallop at NWOBHM pace, then the final track, “Bleeding” is here. Say it ain’t so! The album ends on a strong note, one of their finest songs. It’s dark, moody feel is augmented with haunting strings, alternating with crunching power chords and fiery solos, and is over too soon. That’s really a rare thing these days, being left wanting more. The majority of albums I hear, I could happily trim a good chunk out, and am definitely not sorry when they’re over. I hope to hear more from Troubled Horse, because two albums in 17 years is nowhere near enough. | Buy | Spotify