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Horse the Band

Horse the Band

ALL ARTIST INFO IS PULLED FROM PUBLICLY AVAILABLE DATA.
IF YOU REPRESENT THIS ARTIST AND WOULD LIKE TO VERIFY YOUR PAGE OR UPDATE THE INFO, Click Here
Biography

Horse the Band is a metalcore group from Lake Forest, California. Formed in 1998, the group became famous for their distinct sound, which blends elements of classic video game soundtracks with traditional metal and hardcore sounds. The five-piece band consists of Erik Engstrom, David Isen, Nathan Winneke, Daniel Pouliot, and Jeremiah Bignell. They’ve been compared to Bullet for My Valentine and Killswitch Engage.

The band’s sound has often been described as “Nintendocore,” a moniker that refers to the synthesis of 8-bit video game-esque sounds and metal. However, the band doesn’t want to be put in a box, and they’ve shied away from aligning themselves with the classification of “Nintendocore music.”

Want to learn more about Horse the Band and how they found their unique sound? We’ve got all the facts for you here.

instruments played
drums
Guitar
keyboards
Vocals
Genres

Metalcore, Nintendocore, chiptune

Labels

Combat, Koch, Pluto, LIF, Vagrant, Roadrunner

Origin

Lake Forest, California, U.S.

Years Active

1998 - present

The Early Days of Horse the Band

The group was founded by Erik Engstrom and David Isen. The two were friends at El Toro High School, and they were still teenagers when they got started with music together. David and Erik recruited two singers, Adam Crook and Risto Metso, as well as drummer Jason Karuza and bassist Jason Roberts. However, while David and Erik are still in the band, the Jasons, Risto, and Adam have since left.  By the early 2000s, Nathan Winneke had become a permanent member of the group, taking Jason Roberts’ place as the bassist. In 2001, they released their first album, Secret Rhythm of the Universe, a record that the band produced and recorded themselves.

R. Borlax: The Band’s First “Proper” Album

Unsatisfied with their first release, the members of Horse the Band set out to record a second record. The album, R. Borlax, came out in 2003 and was the last album from the group to feature drummer Jason Karuza, who was replaced by Eli Green after its release. R. Borlax features the 8-bit-inspired sounds that the band is now known for. Released via Pluto Records, the album is the only release from the band that features Andy Stokes on bass.

More Music 

In 2005, Horse the Band followed R. Borlax with The Mechanical Hand, an album produced by Matt Bayles and released via Combat Records. The album got the group nods from several prominent music outlets, including Allmusic, AbsolutePunk, and Punknews, all of whom gave the record positive reviews. The lyrics on The Mechanical Hand feature references to the likes of Super Mario Bros. 2, The Hobbit, Marvel’s Sentry character, Bionic Commando, and more. The title of the record is a loose allusion to the Mechanical Hound from Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451. The album art also references the novel, depicting the phoenix crest worn by the firefighters in Bradbury’s writings.

Pizza: A Concept EP About… Pizza 

In September 2006, Horse the Band released Pizza via Koch Records. Produced by Dan Koch, the record was written halfway through the group’s “Stampeding Machines” tour, which they stopped midway through its run. The group later wrote on MySpace: “We left that tour because we ate really, really, really good pizza in Lou Malnati's in Chicago with Dave's grandparents. The pizza was such that we were inspired by God to write music of the kind not heard in this world since Mozart was fed his first currywurst.” In other words, Pizza is an EP inspired by how good the pizza was at Lou Malnati’s, a Chicago restaurant. That pizza was so good that the band canceled the remainder of their shows and got to work.  During the recording of the EP, numerous fans of the band sent them pizza to fuel their work. All of the tracks on the EP are pizza-related in some way, from “Anti-Pizza” to “Crippled by Pizza (Pizzarrhea in the Pizzeria)” to “Werepizza.”

A Natural Death – The Band’s Third Studio Album

Released via Koch records and produced by Brian Virtue, A Natural Death came out on August 28, 2007. The album retains the group’s “Nintendocore” sound and features lyrical references to the comic book hero Red Tornado, as well as more of the band’s signature wordplay and goofiness.

Desperate Living, Hiatus, and Your Fault

In 2009, the band released Desperate Living via Vagrant Records. Produced by Noah Shain, the album is one of their most well-received records to date, and it was a departure from the “Nintendocore” style that they’d stuck to for nearly a decade. It’s their only album to hit the Billboard 200 albums chart, no small feat for a humble metalcore group. After the release of Desperate Living, the group took a break from recording for over ten years, returning in 2020 with Your Fault, their fifth studio album. Perhaps they haven’t reached the success levels of Avenged Sevenfold, but they’re making music their way. 

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