If you go on down to the Worship Store, you have many altars you can choose to kneel before. You have your garden variety Christian denominations (420% extra guilt for Catholics), Buddhist, Islam, and other world religions. You have the few branches of Satanism, as well as both the anti-science Scientology or Christian Scientists, and the pro-science agnostic/atheist Statue of Carl Sagan. You have your vest-wearing metalheads that worship at the (Judas) Priests or (Iron) Maidens. A wise and open-minded altar is the Almighty Riff. It can take a plethora of forms, but it must pierce the soul and loosen the neck. It must take you on a transcendental journey away from colorful clothing and into the all-black (or denim) section. Medicine Horse are high priests (with one priestess) of the form, as their self-titled debut is a magnificent display of riffs south of the Mason-Dixon line (with 100% less institutional racism): think Crowbar and Weedeater, with some grunge, post-punk, and blues to boot. The short: it kicks major ass, and illuminates their shared Indigenous heritage, with amazing storytelling, via the excellent vocalist Nico Williams.
“I was raised on stories, so that’s how I approach songwriting, I want to spin a yarn. Of course, ‘Letiche’ draws directly from Cajun folklore, which I love, especially the stories that combine the darkness and tragedy inherent in Catholicism. The remaining songs are scenes from the history of Indigenous people, or the current state of our communities, and often the songs start with a depiction of the obstacles we are facing, or those our ancestors faced. Our style of music lends itself to expressions of rage and sorrow. I do feel those things and channel it through these songs, but this album isn’t solely about those emotions, it’s the journey through them. It’s about deep and almost overwhelming pride in the strength and resiliency of our people. Every song on this record builds to a crescendo of homecoming, reclamation, a celebration of Indigenous identity. Time isn’t necessarily linear in our way; we experience the past, present, and future of our people simultaneously. I am my ancestors and my own great grandchildren in this moment; we are all connected by our stories.”
Photo courtesy of Action! PR.