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Horisont: Sudden Death

Sweden's Horisont, along with bands such as Graveyard, Witchcraft, Blues Pills, Captain Crimson, and a host of other Scandinavian acts, have been keeping the spirit of the '70s alive with their retro fueled hard rock sounds for over a decade, and on their latest Century Media release Sudden Death that trend continues. However, the band rely less on bruising blues rock here than on previous releases, injecting a healthy dose of progressive rock & pomp to their sound, with images of ELO, Queen, City Boy, 10CC, Yes, New England, Aviary, and Supertramp now bleeding into their music. You can hear it right off the bat on the opening 1-2 salvo of "Revolution" and "Free Riding", as Axel Soderberg's soaring multi-part vocal harmonies and layers of keyboards float majestically over some crisp hard rock arrangements. This is Horisont, but they've become gloriously even more melodic and adventurous. "Pushin' the Line" harkens back to their older material, a frantic hard rocker with tasty guitar work courtesy of David Kalin & Charlie Van Loo, while "Into the Night" takes on more of a classic rock stance with a dose of pomp thanks to some majestic piano and sax from guest Oskar Backlin...catchy and memorable for sure. Huge, swirling synths and acoustic guitars come out for "Standing Here", a big, bombastic slice of catchy prog, Axel's vocals spot on, with big drums sounds from Pontus Jordan and leathery Magnus Delborg bass lines. "Runaway" is energetic '70s styled hard rock, yet has a certain Moody Blues & Byrds flair to it thanks to some acoustic guitars sitting underneath the electric guitar muscle, and "Gråa Dagar" is the lone Swedish language track on the album, a lush pop number with some pleasing vocals and dreamy keyboard drenched instrumentation.

Over on the back end of Sudden Death you get the hook laden rocker "Sail On", rich with sumptuous backing vocals, jangly hard rock guitars, and plenty of keys, the synth heavy and very Yes-like "Breaking the Chain", the soaring pop/prog of "Hold On", the lengthy 8+ minute prog instrumental "Archaeopteryx In Flight", and as bonus tracks, the hard rocking Uriah Heep styled "Reign of Madness" and the ultra catchy "White Light", which has a The Grand Illusion era Styx feel to it. Both bonus cuts are fantastic and as good as anything else on the regular part of the album. All told, Sudden Death is a very different album for Horisont, dropping much of the '70s styled heavy blues rock in favor of prog-rock & pomp from that same era, and it works wonderfully. These guys can definitely write a catchy pop hook, and there are plenty to be found throughout the album along with a wealth of splendid instrumental arrangements. Excellent work as always from an always evolving band!

Track Listing
01. Revolution
02. Free Riding
03. Pushin' The Line
04. Into The Night
05. Standing Here
06. Runaway
07. Gråa Dagar
08. Sail On
09. Breaking The Chain
10. Hold On
11. Archaeopteryx In Flight
12. Reign of Madness
13. White Light

Added: July 11th 2020
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 934
Language: english

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