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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Lost Horizon

Awakening the World

Review by Mike Korn

With a mighty crash of thunder, a gaping hole is torn in the turbulent sky. A blinding glare issues from the vortex, solidifying into a bridge of brilliant light, and striding on this mystical path are four figures. They are...LOST HORIZON! Are these four truly cosmic warriors sent to save mankind from despair? Or are they just another Swedish power metal band? Well, the truth is closer to the latter, but it's not fair to say that Lost Horizon is "just" another power metal band. There has been much ballyhoo about their debut record "Awakening the World" and there's a lot of hype for the four celestial Swedes to live up to. Musically, Lost Horizon does indeed stake a credible claim for the power metal throne. This scene is filling up with a lot of dubious pretenders, and I thought Lost Horizon might be another such band, but the talent is certainly there. They have built a strong foundation to expand upon.

The lineup, taken directly from the liner notes, gives you an idea of where these guys are coming from: Transcendental Protagonist (AKA Wojtek Liscki): Poesy of Spiritual Enlightenment/The Entire String Romanticism/Soulhealing Euphoric Generators. Translation for Mortals: Lyrics, Guitars, Synthesizers; Cosmic Antagonist (AKA Martin Furangen): Orchestrating of Thunder and Seismic Harmonising. Translation for Mortals: Bass Guitar, Preternatural Transmogryfier (AKA Christian Nyquist): Keeping of the Universe's Pulse and Taming of Chaos. Translation for Mortals: Drums Ethereal Magnanimus (AKA Daniel Heiman): Laments of the Souls and Primal, Victorious Warrior Cries. Translation for Mortals: Vocals and Screams.

Originality is not their strong suit, as the band sounds like a mixture of Blind Guardian, Rhapsody, Manowar and Iced Earth. But no one influence predominates and that helps. Singer Daniel Heiman (known as Ethereal Magnanimus on stage) is a real find. His voice is a lot like ex-Helloween singer Michael Kiske but with a higher register and extreme lungpower. He can hold a note, put it that way. Plus, he wraps his tongue around some fairly complicated vocal lines with ease. Also impressive is drummer Christian Nyquist (hereafter referred to as Preternatural Transmogryfier), whose speed puts many death metal merchants to shame. If you're into speedy power metal with rich vocals and classical influences, Lost Horizon should definitely be up your alley. I don't know if they can save mankind from the Dark Lord but they can kick a fair amount of booty on record. Lost Horizon may strike many as silly with their Braveheart-style make-up and pompous stage names but one listen to "Awakening the World" will convince the masses that there is plenty of talent and potential here. This is a polished release. May they reign in splendor!

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2001 Year Book Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Quickening
This brief sound effects piece gets things rolling with a clap of thunder, a shout and an ominous tone.
Heart of Storm
This one establishes the Lost Horizon sound right off the bat. Fast, precisely played metal with a majestic feel, this one includes plenty of ripping neo-classical guitar and strong vocals from Heiman. An anthemic chorus and some shouted "hey's!" make this an accessible cut.
Sworn In the Metal Wind
One for the speed metal fans, Nyquist's drumming is almost blast-beat velocity and the guitar picking reminds me of Iced Earth. This is a very strong track showing that Lost Horizon are no wimps despite a lot of melody.
The Song of Air
This is a brief keyboard instrumental.
World Through My Fateless Eyes
Though the pace is still quick here, this comes across as more melodic and easier to get into. The chorus riff is really catchy. This cut might be a bit longer than it should have been.
Perfect Warrior
This is a real commercial power metal cut, played at mid-tempo. The record's most forgettable cut, I think this one was included to show the band can do radio-friendly material.
Denial of Fate
A quick-paced track, with a more pronounced keyboard sound, this one reminded me of Blind Guardian's less bombastic moments.
Welcome Back
One of the standout cuts, it starts as a mellow ballad and breaks into strong, catchy metal. Heiman really outdoes himself here, particularly on the chorus, which sticks in the brain like glue. Featuring excellent guitar work from "Transcendental Protagonist"(oh, boy!), this is just an outstanding modern power metal song.
The Kingdom of My Will
It all comes together with this album-ending epic, a lengthy track that travels many paths. The opening riffs create a feeling of cosmic majesty that few songs have equaled. From there, we go into driving speed metal, a killer, complex chorus that Heiman handles with ease and some scorching guitar solos that would have Yngwie nodding in approval. It builds to a mighty climax - superb!
 
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