"Gift Horse" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania based sludge/heavy metal act Mose Giganticus. The album was released through Relapse Records (the band´s first release on the label) in July 2010. Mose Giganticus was formed in 1999 by Matt Garfiel and released "The Invisible Hand" debut full-length studio album in 2006. Matt Garfiel handles all instruments and vocals on "Gift Horse".
Stylistically we´re treated to a relatively diverse sound, which draws influences from many musical genres. To my ears the primary sound is sludge though, and artists like Mastodon and Baroness in their least technical moments are valid references. There is a major presence of synths, organ, and electronics featured on the album though, which provide "Gift Horse" with a somewhat original sound. It took a few listens to grasp what the deal was, but Mose Giganticus is on to something pretty interesting here, that may lend stylistic elements from more prolific artists, but ultimately sounds relatively unique. The heavy sludge metal riffing and vocals are often spiced up with rock´n´roll, punk, and stoner elements (and more melodic vocals), which make the album quite intriguing. The fact that "Gift Horse" is a concept release describing the the struggle between God and Lucifer leading to Armageddon is not exactly a negative either, as it works well for the band.
"Gift Horse" is very well produced and if you didn´t know it, you wouldn´t be able to tell that everything on the album is played and sung by one man. Garfiel is definitely a very skilled musician/composer and it´s audible that Mose Giganticus is his baby as everything is delivered with great passion and conviction. As mentioned above it took me a few listens to warm up to "Gift Horse" and understand what Garfiel was trying to convey, so I can highly recommend giving the album more than a few spins before passing judgement. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.