Dark Horse White Horse is the new musical project from Marcela Bovio, Jord Otto and Ruben Wijga. If you are like me and you have only listened to the melancholic chamber music from Marcela’s two beautiful solo records, then this might take some time getting used to and I mean this in a very positive way. From the moment I listened to the first single from this five track EP, Black Hole, I was already more than intrigued. It feels like that it’s the perfect mix between symphonic and progressive. Most of the time the vocals are very powerful and overwhelming, in a good way that is. They really blew me away! The sheer vocal power Marcela processes is very hard to describe. But she also switches effortlessly between very high notes and very low ones, with tremendous vocal control. But what strikes me the most is the level of urgency and willpower behind her vocal capabilities. I believe every word that Marcela is communicating to me as a listener. Combine this with a rough edge in her voice and it leaves you to desire more. I wasn’t really aware that she could do these things with her voice before I saw her one time in Arnhem covering the beautiful song Like a Stone from Audioslave. But I am digressing.
This EP has more than just powerful vocals. I’ve known the guitar skills of guitarist Jord Otto for some time now because I have listened to the band VUUR a lot. This guy is absolutely phenomenal. But let’s not forget the extremely tight basslines and the incredible drums provided by up-and-coming bass player Siebe Sol Sijpkens and the drum legend Ariën van Weesenbeek respectfully. These two provide the backbone of this EP and provide a steady rhythm section. Ingenious complex guitar solos and the haunting melodic keyboard riffs from Ruben Wijga, topped off with the aforementioned powerful vocals of Marcela give Dark Horse White Horse an incredible and unique sound. A sound that is much more approachable than some of the other progressive metal that I have heard, without actually ever losing its complexity. All of this is mixed in smallest detail by none other than producer veteran and incredible musician Joost van den Broek who absolutely needs no introduction. If I had to name a favorite track on this EP, then it would be the last one named Cursed. The switches in tempo and the complexity of the riffs show that these musicians are incredibly skilled, capable of making great songs. The only downside to this EP is that it’s way too short. I mean, I haven’t found a single song on this EP that I don’t like and that leaves me excited for what’s to come next!