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Horse the Band

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Horse the Band
Horse the Band in 2009. From left to right: Nathan Winneke, David Isen, Erik Engstrom, Daniel Pouliot.
Horse the Band in 2009. From left to right: Nathan Winneke, David Isen, Erik Engstrom, Daniel Pouliot.
Background information
OriginLake Forest, California, U.S.
Years active1998–present
LabelsCombat, Koch, Pluto, LIF, Vagrant, Roadrunner
MembersErik Engstrom
David Isen
Nathan Winneke
Daniel Pouliot
Jeremiah Bignell
Past membersJason Karuza
Risto Metso
Jason Roberts
Adam Crook
Guy Morgenshtern
Andy Stokes
Eli Green
Dashiel Arkenstone
Chris Prophet

Horse the Band (stylized as HORSE the band) is an American metalcore band[1] from Lake Forest, California, who are best known for their 8-bit video game-influenced sound combined with metalcore. Frontman Nathan Winneke once jokingly described their sound as "Nintendocore", although the band have gone to lengths to distance themselves from the label, reiterating that this merely describes the sound, not the substance.


Early years and R. Borlax (1998–2004)[edit]

HORSE the Band was started in Lake Forest, California, in 1998 while founding members Erik Engstrom and David Isen were seniors at El Toro High School and was originally planned as a ska and pop punk band.[9] The original lineup included vocalists Adam Crook and Risto Metso, drummer Jason Karuza and bassist Jason Roberts. At the time, the band had a more traditional hardcore punk style. From late 2000 onwards, the band had a stable lineup with Engstrom and Isen, vocalist Adam Crook, drummer Jason Karuza and bassist Nathan Winneke, who had previously stood in as drummer for Karuza, and recorded their self-produced album Secret Rhythm of the Universe in 2001.

The band booked its own tours starting the summer of 2002, including a three-month tour spanning seven countries, and also released the EP Beautiful Songs by Men.[citation needed] In late 2002, vocalist Adam Crook left the band so that he could continue his formal education. Following his departure, bassist Nathan Winneke took over vocal duties, while Andy Stokes replaced him on bass.

In 2003, HORSE the Band released their first "proper" album with R. Borlax, featuring many new recordings of older songs. Drummer Jason Karuza left the band shortly after its release. His full-time replacement, Eli Green, joined after the band had toured in support of the album.

The Mechanical Hand and A Natural Death (2004–2008)[edit]

In the summer of 2004, they embarked upon the Horse the World Tour 2004, giving way to 85 shows in 90 days, spanning seven countries throughout North America and Europe. After the tour, Andy Stokes left the band, and Dashiel Arkenstone became the band's new bassist. With the new lineup of Engstrom, Isen, Winneke, Green, and Arkenstone, the band recorded and released their second album The Mechanical Hand (2005).

In 2006, the band embarked on both Warped Tour and Sounds of the Underground. The band abruptly dropped off the "Stampeding Machines" tour with Gatsby's American Dream and Portugal. the Man and recorded a concept EP titled Pizza. The band stated on their Myspace that "We left that tour because we ate really, really, really good pizza in Lou Malnati's in Chicago with Dave's grandparents. The pizza was such that we were inspired by God to write music of the kind not heard in this world since Mozart was fed his first currywurst," though astute fans noticed that Eli Green was no longer in the band, having been replaced by Chris Prophet. The band released their fourth album A Natural Death in 2007.

Earth Tour and Desperate Living (2008–2010)[edit]

Vocalist Nathan Winneke (left) and keyboardist Erik Engstrom in 2008

In early 2008, Prophet was asked to leave the band. In March, the band embarked on their "Earth Tour", a self-funded, self-booked, and self-promoted tour of 47 countries in 90 days.[10] The band was able to complete the tour with the help of drummer Jon Karel from The Number 12 Looks Like You. The band released a ten-hour, seven-DVD film chronicling their travels in 2010. The film was submitted to SXSW and Sundance but was not screened, and was later released for free online. Bassist Dashiel Arkenstone left the band after the tour, though he remains on good terms with the remaining members. Drummer Jon Karel, having been hired as a substitute, returned to his activities in The Number 12 Looks Like You, leaving only Engstrom, Isen and Winneke.[11]

On February 2, 2009, HORSE the Band signed to Vagrant Records, a label they stated they had been trying to sign with for nine years.[12] The band's most recent full-length album, Desperate Living, was released on October 6, 2009, with new drummer Daniel Pouliot and bassist Brian Grover. Grover left the band shortly after the band wrapped up touring in support of Desperate Living and was replaced by current bassist Jeremiah Bignell.[13]

Future and Your Fault (2011–present)[edit]

The band went on an extended unannounced hiatus, reforming every few months for sporadic runs of shows. In March 2017, HORSE the Band toured with Infinity Shred and Graf Orlock, closing out their sets with their first new song in eight years. The song was referred to by fans as "A Reason to Live" after a recurring hashtag on the band's social media during the tour. After wrapping up the tour, on July 14, 2017, the band posted an in-studio video of the song on their Instagram account,[14] followed by two more studio videos, indicating that the group could be possibly recording a new release, which would be their first material in a decade (following 2009's Desperate Living).

In February 2018, the band announced a new EP on their Facebook and Instagram [15] accounts. The EP, also referred to by fans as "A Reason to Live", was to be crowdfunded by Ethereum smart contract, which would disburse Ether cryptocurrency to the band members as payment for making progress on the album. It is unknown if the band met their funding goal and their social media returned to its previous period of inactivity - issues with funding via Ether cryptocurrency were likely exacerbated by the 2018 cryptocurrency crash shortly after the band announced the campaign.

In December 2019, the band announced three shows on the "A Partridge" Tour, during which they played "A Reason to Live" and another new song, later identified as "NoGimbus". Winneke stated on his Instagram that the new EP was in the process of being mixed and mastered, but no further details were released by the band or its members.

In October 2020, after being teased on the band members' personal Instagram pages, a new three-song EP, Your Fault, was announced on the band's Instagram[16] and other social media profiles for release on November 27. It is the band's first new release in over a decade and contains the two songs played on tour, "A Reason to Live" and "NoGimbus", as well as a cover of Nine Inch Nails' "March of the Pigs".




Studio albums[edit]

Year Album Label
2001 Secret Rhythm of the Universe (demo) Self-released
2003 R. Borlax Pluto
2005 The Mechanical Hand Combat
2007 A Natural Death Koch
2009 Desperate Living Vagrant

Extended plays[edit]

Year Album Label
1999 Scabies, the Kangarooster, and You Self-released
2001 I Am a Small Wooden Statue on a Patch of Crabgrass Next to a Dried Up Riverbed
2002 Beautiful songs by Men
2006 Pizza Koch
2020 Your Fault Lif

Video albums[edit]

Year Album Label
2004 The Effing 69 World Tour Self-released
2009 We Flooded It, and There's Yogurt Everywhere: 48 Hours in Ukraine Lif
2010 Earth Tour Self-released

Music videos[edit]

  • "Bunnies" - R. Borlax[18]
  • "A Million Exploding Suns" - The Mechanical Hand[19]
  • "Lord Gold Throneroom" - The Mechanical Hand[20]
  • "Birdo" - The Mechanical Hand[21]
  • "New York City" - A Natural Death[22]
  • "Murder" - A Natural Death[23]
  • "Shapeshift" - Desperate Living[24]


  1. ^ a b "HORSE the band invade Lancaster's Chameleon Club". September 22, 2008. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  2. ^ "California Metalcore Favorites HORSE the Band Make Sold Out Appearance at Austin's Sidewinder (SHOW REVIEW)". April 4, 2017. Retrieved December 15, 2020 – via Glide Magazine.
  3. ^ a b "11 of the weirdest metal subgenres". March 30, 2020. Retrieved January 12, 2021 – via Louder.
  4. ^ "Horse the Band Release New EP, First Music in Over a Decade". November 27, 2020. Retrieved December 15, 2020 – via MetalSucks. Seminal "Nintendocore" outfit Horse the Band have released an EP titled Your Fault, their first new music in over ten years.
  5. ^ "The Most Intolerable Fan Bases in Music | Dallas Observer". December 6, 2013. Retrieved January 5, 2021 – via Dallas Observer. The overlapping genres of Video Game Metal/"Nintendocore" don't need a long explanation as to why their fans are annoying. The inherent hyperactivity and reliance on gimmickry is a recipe for attracting people who will only achieve a wider social circle through their eventual use of research chemicals. Even though these bands are technically impressive, do yourself a favor and avoid the temptation to relive your youth through musical gateway drugs like Minibosses, Powerglove, Math the Band and Horse the Band before you buy some neon belts and end up addicted to hentai pornography.
  6. ^ Deiterman, Corey (September 17, 2014). "The Brief, Bizarre Wave of Good Synth-Metal Bands". Houston Press. Retrieved May 20, 2021.
  7. ^ Kilin, Egon (October 10, 2017). "The 3 Best Adaptations Of Video Games In Pop Culture". Retrieved December 13, 2020 – via loadthegame.com.
  8. ^ https://exclaim.ca/music/article/horse_band-natural_death
  9. ^ "Horse the Band puts keyboards at the core of metalcore". lancasteronline.com. December 10, 2009. Retrieved June 11, 2024.
  10. ^ "Horse the Band Need Your Help Booking Tour. " AbsolutePunk. January 21, 2008.
  11. ^ Punknews.org. "Interviews: HORSE The Band". www.punknews.org. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  12. ^ "HORSE the band | Vagrant Records". Archived from the original on February 5, 2009. Retrieved February 3, 2009.
  13. ^ "chorus.fm". chorus.fm. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  14. ^ "Instagram post by HORSE the band • Jul 15, 2017 at 5:39am UTC". Instagram. Archived from the original on December 24, 2021. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  15. ^ "HORSE the band on Instagram: "A REASON TO LIVE #hodl #ethereum #pumpanddump #blockchain #smartcontracts #areasontolive #nogimbus"". Instagram.com. February 24, 2018. Archived from the original on December 24, 2021. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  16. ^ "Login • Instagram". Archived from the original on December 24, 2021. {{cite web}}: Cite uses generic title (help)
  17. ^ "HORSE the band". anotherbox.20m.com. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  18. ^ "Horse the Band - Bunnies [HQ]". Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved January 5, 2021 – via YouTube.
  19. ^ "HORSE the band- A Million Exploding Suns (HD)". Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved January 5, 2021 – via YouTube.
  20. ^ "HORSE The Band - Lord Gold Throneroom". Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved January 5, 2021 – via YouTube.
  21. ^ "HORSE The Band - Birdo". Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved January 5, 2021 – via YouTube.
  22. ^ "HORSE the Band - "New York City" Koch Records". Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved January 5, 2021 – via YouTube.
  23. ^ "HORSE The Band "Murder" Official Music Video". Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved January 5, 2021 – via YouTube.
  24. ^ "HORSE The Band - Shapeshift". Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved January 5, 2021 – via YouTube.

External links[edit]