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Single Review: Reuben Brock “Black Horse Through Hell”

As long as country music has existed, heartbreak has made itself a key focal point of the genre. Wisely using the authenticity often associated with the storytelling method of country music’s timeless lyrical structure to paint pictures of heartache and loss, the country genre has always managed to persist in the mainstream. Continuing such an esteemed tradition, Reuben Brock is back with his newest single “Black Horse Through Hell,” a breakup song of the highest cowboy-rock caliber.

Reuben Brock is far from a novice at this point; having played self-taught guitar since the age of fourteen with two full-length albums in his arsenal, “Black Horse Through Hell” came to him in the lead-up for his third album DAMAGE. Acting as the second single for the project, it certainly feels like a shift in gears from the debut single “Nail and Hammer.” By contrast, the new single is a good deal more upbeat in its tempo, contrasting the melancholy lyrics with the cinematic imagery the song evokes. “Black Horse Through Hell” was released alongside a music video that carries that symbolism to the forefront, as it features Brock playing the song against a backdrop of thunderstorms, fire, and ghost towns among other choice images. The upbeat instrumental track works with the morose lyrics in tandem, giving listeners a truly memorable piece of modern country rock as it checks all the boxes.

 

 

Brock’s presence as a musician and performer is impeccable and this single functions as a great showcase for his overall ambitions as a rock star. There’s a Bob Dylan-esque quality to his vocals that never steeps into feeling derivative, as he ultimately makes the vocal delivery his own by a long shot. The change in energy between singles will undoubtedly leave listeners even more intrigued for whatever DAMAGE has in store for them, and “Black Horse Through Hell” is a single that’ll get a great deal of airplay before the album even sees a full release later this year.

“Black Horse Through Hell” just might end up being one of the standout singles of the year, both within its genre and within music releases in general. The classic approach to a great narrative in a song is something that can’t be beaten, and Reuben Brock manages to pull it off beyond even basic attempts, delivering a type of song you would never expect to come across in contemporary music. The string work, in particular, elevates the track above anything else on the radio, but as a whole, there’s hardly anything to hold against a track as confident and well-made as “Black Horse Through Hell.” DAMAGE has effortlessly made its way to the top of my most anticipated releases for the remainder of 2022 with this single, and Brock has earned a spot in the year-end wrap-up with a song as memorable and refined as “Black Horse Through Hell.” There’s still plenty to come from the act of heartbreak, and the act of taking said heartbreak and turning it into art, and you can bet Brock will be there to make great music out of all of it.

 

Frank Lorentzen

 

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