Horisont

Time Warriors

Written by: AP on 20/01/2014 14:48:08

Sometimes I feel like more than half of the bands subjected to my reviews stem from the heritage rock movement. Plenty of such outfits have certainly populated my queue over the past few years, and whether this is due to my personal interest in the genre, or an exponential increase in the number of bands practicing it since Graveyard blew into widespread appeal with their 2011 masterpiece "Hisingen Blues", is not yet clear. What is clear - as I already mentioned in my review of Vidunder's self-titled effort - is that the bulk of these bands seems to be concentrated in Germany and Sweden. Such is the case with Horisont (horizon in English), too.

This Gothenburg based outfit has existed since 2006 and released two albums already ("Två Sidor Av Horisonten" (2009) and "Second Assault" (2012)), making them one of the most experienced bands on Crusher Records' specialised roster alongside Denmark's Baby Woodrose. This is a record label with an uncanny nose for promising retrospective bands, as witnessed by their delivery of bands like Blues Pills (who have since moved on to sign with Nuclear Blast, of course), Spiders and Troubled Horse into the spotlight, so naturally my expectations for Horisont's third album "Time Warriors" have been appropriately high. But with the skyrocketing popularity of this genre, and hence the inevitable increase in the number of bands hoping to obtain a slice of it, it is not without a notch of apprehension that I embark upon listening to "Time Warriors".

From the brilliant opening track "Writing on the Wall", it is, however, immediately obvious that Horisont are rather more pluralistic when it comes to their influences, than the vast majority of bands distilling their music from retrospective rock. There's a very distinct touch of early Iron Maiden to the harmonised lead and gallop, whilst the high-pitch vocals of Axel Söderberg remind me heavily (and perhaps unsurprisingly) of Ozzy Osbourne during his heyday - and alert listeners might even notice the subtle parallels in the vocal melody to Eagles' classic "Hotel California". What this song also reveals is Horsiont's penchant for using their instruments to their full potential, with virtually every pause in Söderberg's singing divulging a nugget of guitar/bass solo work that, if you tune your ear to it, is actually a constant presence beneath the vocals. Such texture makes "Time Warriors" a highly textured listening experience which beckons your return each time "All Must Come to an End" concludes the album, and provides the main reason for why "Time Warriors" distinguishes itself from its contemporary kin (Orchid's latest, for instance) and manages to offer stiff competition to the progenitors of this resurrection movement: Witchcraft.

Next to the obvious Sabbath-idolatry, Horisont have also deployed their love of progressive- and country-rock; two tints that are particularly audible in the Swedish-sung "Vänd Tillbaka" (in English: come back), its melodies paying homage to the nostalgia of the latter style; and "All Must Come to an End", which, following another fantastic example of the role Iron Maiden's backlog has played in shaping this band's music, collapses third of the way into beautiful, Pink Floyd/Led Zeppelin-esque epic balladry. But it's not at all as complex as my descriptions may suggest: the insouciant swagger of tracks like "Brother" and "Eyes of the Father" betrays the band's infatuation with good ol' classic rock'n'roll energy, which forms the basis of every song on this album.

Though the general consistency of the material renders it difficult to pick favourites off the record, there are moments when Horisont do not succeed. One such example is track three "Ain't No Turning Back", which, in the wake of the hard rocking, instantly captivating "Diamonds in Orbit" (the resemblance of the main riff to Kadavar's "Doomsday Machine" off that band's latest album "Abra Kadavar" is striking), sounds quite underwhelming with its low-key instrumentation and melancholic yelps; and neither . But by and large there is such incredulous amounts of detail, extraordinary instrumental work and memorabilia packed into this thing that allowing the presence of a few weak tracks eclipse the fact that with "Time Warriors", Horisont prove themselves one of the better acts in the heritage rock movement, would be a terrible mistake.

8

Download: Writing on the Wall, Diamonds in Orbit, Brother, Eyes of the Father, All Must Come to an End
For the fans of: Black Sabbath, old Iron Maiden, Kadavar, Orchid, Witchcraft
Listen: Facebook

Release date 27.09.2013
Crusher Records

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