Double Header – Featuring Lost Horizon

banner

It's a two-for-one today at Deaf Sparrow, with this new feature of ours.  Actually, it's a convenient, simple way for us to be lazy while pretending to be productive, because we can fit essentially two reviews into one article, and it will probably never happen again.  In our defense past our own admission of guilt, these two were sent to us at the same time, and they were re-released in the same year.  They come from about a decade ago, one of the 'from the vault' releases by The End Records, who acquired several legendary albums from now-defunct Music For Nations (including Opeth, Cradle of Filth, and Godflesh, to name but three).  Simple idea, take something released years ago, release it again?  Sure, if it's good.  Let us begin our quest of swords and dragons in the late 1990s as the band Highlander broke apart into Hammerfall, and these guys.  Lost Horizon went the power metal route, but with all the costumes and silly names, and they're pretty underappreciated.  The only reason anyone pretends to listen to something like this on the reg is so they can seem like they listen to something but Maiden.  But sometimes, hey, we want someone different, or rather while we're waiting for Maiden to release something else we need something more bootleg, if you will, perhaps better to say Iron Maiden without the Maiden.  Ridiculous covers that hide within power metal that turns any simple activity into a three-part film series in 3D?  Yes please.  For this little piece we'll be giving you two short reviews of each album with the full-tracks via Youtube.

 

Awakening the World - This cover has about as much packed into it as the album itself, if power metal be thy dream and plate of cheese thy dish.  Originally published in 2001, Awakening the World provides some solid power metal riffing, clean, layered vocals, and plenty of that dairy goodness you expect.  And Lost Horizon is serving up a plate full of it from cheddar to brie.  However, though they went full LARP with their approach (hint, very, very Dungeons & Dragons), these guys have one thing above all of the rest of the power metal bands out there, disgustingly awesome atmosphere.  The command over their instruments is spectacular, and if you expected Bruce Dickinson, sorry, this is actually better than that, seriously.  Dickinson is awesome, sure, but his vocal range is pretty limited and he tends to rely on extended falsetto for his effect, but here, we're given a huge range of styles, all clean, with occasional layering and absolutely ridiculous, inhuman screeches to pull it all together.  Sometimes you need something medieval to listen to, something that causes searches on eBay for blunt swords, and Awakening the World does it through its entirety.  At times you can't help but be slightly embarrassed by it, but soon thereafter it pulls itself together again and you scream to the heavens as you charge into battle with foam swords and foam arrows flying over your head, never wary of death.  Score: 4 / 5

A Flame to the Ground Beneath - Released two years after the above, A Flame to the Ground Beneath is Lost Horizon's current swansong until they decide to finish another (they're still on hiatus but actually are apparently almost done with a new one).  Make that wyvernsong.  This time around they added two more members to the mix, took all the cheese from the above, and chucked it into a black hole as they flew into space on their spacecraft made out of blistering riffs and stars.  This was actually the first one we popped in, not realizing Awakening came prior, but it definitely made it more obvious.  The atmosphere this time around takes it to the next level, that being going from a 20-sided die to full frikken zocchihedron.  Percentile rolls are highly useful.  So, after a lengthy intro in the blackness of space, Lost Horizon belt out the ballad you've been awaiting.  Sit in thy room, champion, allow thy tears over thy lost girlfriend to well up as you scream to thy ceiling fan all of your woes.  Somehow Lost Horizon enables that iage to become less pathetic than it sounds.  The riffs on A Flame to the Ground Beneath are addicting, and the perfect soundtrack for those extended car rides alone past her house.    One complaint is that these guys really, and we mean really know how to make a track epic, like usually five minutes over what the normal epic band is capable.  However, this tends to give Lost Horizon plenty of space to develop solos properly and move back and forth between verse/chorus.  Solid power metal, with dudes riding in tornadoes to boot, or as we should say in the proper tongue, to bote.  Score: 4.5 / 5

 

Lost Horizon Official Site

Written by Stanley Stepanic