Music We Love: Kaboom's "Dead Horse" Review

With the loss of music venues catering to the extreme and esoteric in Denton, it’s hard to maintain steadfast in your faith in the heavy music scene. Kaboom’s Dead Horse helps to alleviate such fears – this scene isn’t going anywhere. You won’t hear Kaboom’s potent blend of noise-rock and post-hardcore resonating from the rooftop of LSA, and perhaps you shouldn’t. This type of music belongs in a cavernous basement or a beer-can-littered venue favoring Rubber Gloves, in the company of dim lighting, bulging eyes, and sweaty, matted hair.

Coming fresh off a five-year hiatus, Kaboom returned to the scene by playing a reunion show at the Crown and Harp in Dallas and recording Dead Horse, a bombastic offering delivered in short, chaotic bursts. According to Brad Santulli, frontman and founding member, “The album is an examination of suffering and isolation in its various forms,” a notion reinforced by his caustic yet cryptic lyricism and fanatical vocal style. The influence of bands like Drive Like Jehu and Shellac is abundantly clear, marked by the distant pounding of hard-hitting drums, guitars drenched in reverb and fuzz, and chord structures laced with intoxicating and abrasive atonality.

Santulli also cites David Bowie as an influence, made evident by the band’s cover of the seminal classic “Under Pressure” by the late glam-rock pioneer. From the grungier, driving track “Faceless Crowd” to the slightly more melodic, yet still plenty noisy “Hooked Fish,” the intensity and passion of the record remain constant and invigorating, never shying away from bedlam and disorder. The album focuses heavily on the subject of morality and the dehumanizing factors intrinsic to health care systems, showcased by the track “Pharmaceutical Psychology,” a harrowing and unapologetic critique of said institutions. The introspective bits only add to the overall energy and aggression of the record, making for a concise, salient, and unrelenting piece of art. 

Dead Horse is an exploration of chaos, loss, and ethics delivered in a most aggressive fashion. The element despondency and desperation inherent to the music are ubiquitous throughout the record, leaving the listener in a fevered haze of wonder.

Members of the four-piece hail from Beaumont, Chicago, Denver, and Denton, making live performances a rare occurrence. When asked about plans for future shows, Santulli said that dates in the near future were unlikely, but the idea of a summer tour for next year including a date in Denton has been tossed around. We’ll be waiting with bated breath.