Italy's Event Horizon came to life in 1996, releasing their independent debut Year: Zero about six years later. The album featured a different lineup with Alessandro Formenti and keyboard player Michele Fragnelli who have now been replaced. The new vocalist is Gianluca Girardi (also of Soul Takers) and even though there is plenty of keyboard work on the album there's no mention of a player in the liner notes. Speaking of keyboards, they are very central to this album, as lots of electronic and experimental soundscapes are utilised within their pieces in order to provide a contrast to the heavy guitar riffs and Girardi's often screamed power metal style vocal lines.
Event Horizon's music on Naked on the Black Floor could be described as a mix of Evergrey's haunting and brutal guitar riffs, angry vocals which occasionally tend to overstep the limits of its range, and dark synth textures that recall another underrated Italian band, Lifend. Unfortunately, the production of the album is sorely lacking, as some of the drum tones are awfully thin-sounding and the bass bottom is way so boomy that it may take away from the listening experience. Gianluca Girardi is a very ambitious singer, opting for cool melodic lines on "Again", a song whose keyboard intro is almost identical to the Turkish pop-rock band Mor ve Otesi's radio hit "Bir Derdim Var". The churning guitar chords on it seem like their were inspired by Evergrey's non-prog side; while "Bited" is more in the conventional power metal mould with great drumming.
The best songs on the album are the prog-tinged "The Road to Myself", bringing forth bass player Mauro Boggioni's finger-picked solo and an overdubbed twin guitar harmony. Lots of changing tempos and odd-timed meters are woven into the mix, as swells of key melodies circulate in the background. It's a shame the album didn't receive its deserved production values, as this could make for a real standout track. "Fragments of Insanity" follows in a similar fashion, with emphasized synths and a powerful rhythmic syncopation on top of it. Perhaps the most complex number on the album, this track displays Event Horizon's perfect blend of prog-infused melodic metal with a deeply atmospheric undertone. Strangely, it's the songs with great bass grooves that are more to my liking, as I feel they produce great results when they use the bass as an independent instrument, rather than a second guitar. The slap bass solo on the song is actually one of the finest parts on the albm. This song isn't as heavy as the previous cut, but has several sections where mathematical guitars and electronic synth effects duel creatively. "Zero" is very abstract because of its programmed drum beats in the intro; while last track "The Wall" is the most experimental and synth-driven work, with Chroma Key type of keyboard orchestrations and dark yet clean vocals.
Bottom line, this is a good album, but not essential. I'd have enjoyed it more if they'd taken their time while producing it and allowed some of their ideas to mature fully. Still, a worthwhile effort for sure.
- Everything That Begins…Must End
- The Road to Myself
- Fragments of Insanity
- The Flying Feather
- The Wall