Dead Horse was a Houston, Texas thrash metal band active in the 1980s and 1990s. They were most popular in Texas and nearby parts of the American Southwest, where they have a devoted following for their popular live shows.
Over seven years of touring and recording, dead horse developed a compositionally complex version of thrash or death metal, best demonstrated on their second album Peaceful Death and Pretty Flowers. Dead Horse was also well regarded for their habit of incorporating elements of country music and Texas culture, most noticeably on the songs "Hank" from Horsecore and "Chiggers" from Feed Me. An undercurrent of musical and social humor exists in many of their songs, such as "French Fry" and "My Dog The Prophet", though it is often juxtaposed with more serious work like the menacing meditation on religion, "Peaceful Death."
Their artwork, from their album covers, t-shirts, and promotional materials, excels as an example of thrash metal era art, with dark, thematically consistent images comparable to those of Pushead. Their art often included biological imagery drawn by Haaga himself, reputedly a medical school dropout. The most well-known images from their art are the grim reaper riding a horse skeleton from the cover of their demo tape, and the popular t-shirt displaying a Texas Farm to Market Road 666 road sign.
They released several albums themselves, and one nationally distributed LP, Peaceful Death and Pretty Flowers, on the independent record label Big Chief. Their final attempt at mainstream recognition was the EP Feed Me, reputedly intended as a demo for Interscope Records. The EP failed to garner a major label deal, and primary songwriter Michael Haaga left the group. Dead Horse released one more album after Haaga left boil'ing Scott Sevall form Force Fed took over Hagga's spot. Haaga went on to form The Demonseeds, played bass guitar on the first album of Superjoint Ritual, and has released a solo LP with the backing of numerous Houston musicians entitled, "The Plus and Minus Show."
1999 saw Relapse Records re-release Horsecore (containing all of the tracks from Death Rides A dead horse) and Peaceful Death and Pretty Flowers (containing a track from Feed Me and tracks from the 90 Demo).