Mountain Top metal trio Black Horizon debuts new EP, books release show
Bolstered by a new bass player and coming off of an encouraging studio session, a local metal trio is poised to release a new record.
Black Horizon, a Mountain Top-based thrash outfit, debuts its latest EP, “Dethrone,” today, and founding member Ricky Wells said the album accomplishes a goal the band has been pushing toward since forming in 2015. The band will perform to celebrate the release during an evening of music that begins at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Sherman Showcase (formerly the Living Room) in Stroudsburg and also features E57, Enda Vera and Terrorize This.
After recording three original songs in one day last year, Black Horizon got the opportunity to revisit those tunes with more attention to detail, and they wrote two new songs to round out “Dethrone,” which features five originals.
“We took more time to do this,” guitarist and lead vocalist Wells said in a recent interview. “It was what we were going for the last time.”
Wells and drummer Tyler Snipas, both of Mountain Top, started the project as students at Crestwood High School — where they both still attend — and their friendship and passion for the music has kept the band moving forward despite inconsistencies on bass.
Their newest addition, Zack Gabel, 18, of Lehman, solidifies the current lineup.
“When he (Gabel) came in, we were at a place of uncertainty,” Wells, 17, said. “He was originally a guitar player. His style is like a bassist; he uses lower strings. When he was younger, he broke his arm, so it’s difficult for him to play how I would, say. The first show we had was at the Coal Mine Tap Room in (Saint Claire), and mid-show, we were looking around at each other like, ‘Wow, this is what we were looking for.”
Wells looked back on his history with Snipas, 17, who was trained as a percussionist in the Crestwood marching band before sitting behind the drum kit to start Black Horizon.
“We’ve known each other for a very long time,” Wells said. “He bashed away on a $100 kit my mom could afford. He’s evolved since then; his timing is better. We have (evolved) as a band. It’s just a matter of staying inspired.”
Bringing Gabel into the studio with him and Snipas, Wells said, was integral to the trio’s creative process.
“I can sit there all day and come up with riffs, but I can’t put it all together unless they’re all there,” Wells said of his bandmates. The writer’s block we get individually seems to go away when we’re all in the same room.”
Black Horizon’s new release, Wells said, brings together elements of their older influences — like Black Sabbath, Slayer and Metallica — and their contemporary favorites like Avenged Sevenfold and Slipknot.
“With our old school inspirations, the songs themselves are exactly that,” Wells said. “We locked in to what we were trying to do. Going back to older stuff and putting new twists on it is more original than trying to do something similar to current bands. We’re listening to our influence, but we’re experimenting with sound.”
Recording with a local producer — the individual requested to go unnamed — who provided vintage instruments and amplifiers helped Black Horizon tap into the metal that laid the foundation for their work.
“We took the time to get the right sound out of each instrument,” Wells said. “We spent time layering guitar tracks and focusing on vocals. We also tried to capture that live sound we seem to have at some of our shows. I hope when somebody listens to (the EP), they get the same type of vintage sound I get listening to Pantera on an ’80s stereo.”
With their album release approaching, Wells gave kudos to the Sherman Showcase’s booking team.
“They’re dealing with more local bands, trying to launch bands like us on a higher platform,” Wells said.
In regard to their bill-mates for Feb. 27, Wells also had praise.
“We wanted to play with people we respected the most as musicians,” he said. “This show has a bunch of different variations of rock.”
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or on Twitter @TimesLeaderMatt.
Album release show
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Where: Sherman Showcase, 522 Main St., Stroudsburg
Additional information: The evening of music also features E57, Enda Vera and Terrorize This. Tickets cost $10 in advance and $12 the day of the show and are available online at ticketf.ly/2Bt5VrV.