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Album Reviews : Horizons Edge – Heavenly Realms

By on November 17, 2015

horizons edge - heavenly realmsOne of the earliest and best things I realised about this album was just how well everything blends. The music, vocals, and instrumentation assimilates into the mix so seamlessly it’s almost effortless. From vocalist Kat Sproule’s unique and engaging lines, to the guitar soloing efforts of Josh Ristrom and Eddy Grosso that are always a delight, and further to Campbell Hill’s keys, it all comes together to remarkable effect. From the moment “Vagabond” starts, we’re taken on this journey – indeed through the heavenly realms, if you will – with Horizons Edge through a sonic landscape that is all their own; and one as enjoyable as any other.

The album opens to an soft opening melody as lightning cracks, before the heroic guitars roar into life and Kat Sproule’s vocals kicks the action into swing. With opening track “Vagabond”, the high-fantasy realms this album aspires to is brought out, sprinkled also with a touch of sci-fi. This is coupled with a beautifully appropriate mix of melodic power metal and speed metal that is just begging for you to headbang along to it.

One of ‘Heavenly Realms’ greatest strengths is its immediate accessibility. It resonates with a style akin at times to the likes of Stratovarius, yet not to take away from the band, Horizons Edge do a great job making this record wholly their own. It cannot really be tied down to any one band’s sound off the bat, and that is to the credit of Horizons Edge. Whilst there are obviously the expected cues here from typical power metal stylings, it is not overwhelming enough to make Horizons Edge feel like “any other band”. They’ve crafted a sound that should appeal to a broader array of individuals (as they don’t limit themselves in the presentation of their songs), and enough variety to stay interesting throughout this musical journey.

In terms of the manner in which Horizons Edge present their songs, the title track is a prime example of how this album mixes it up. Opening with a gorgeously melodic guitar intro, Dean Lewer’s drums creep up on you before the song jumps into high gear. It then seamlessly quiets to a lull as Kat narrates the footsteps of her troubled yet hopeful protagonist. “Ride The Stars” moves with bravado, rightly assuming the listener has settled in, and takes ‘Heavenly Realms’ up another notch; displaying Horizons Edge’s talent to move through the record with considerable speed, yet without ever losing that melodic edge they play off of so well. This gives the record very even pacing that allows you as the listener to really immerse yourself in it: which, in the realms of power or melodic metal, is the one criteria every band should aspire to. Thankfully, Horizons Edge do this.

“Life After Death” is a wonderful closer to the album, and is in fact arguably the best song on this record for me. The build up works brilliantly, and this track shows off well the diverse talents of its six members. Between the vocals, drums, and then the guitars, it all melds together expertly. Their cover of Gown‘s “Head Honcho” was one I was not expecting. The band name ‘Gown’ was the pseudonym used by Queens Of The Stone Age for the movie Hot Rod, and to hear this song redone as a power metal track is just fantastic.

Though I will say the lyrics on this album are as a whole fairly predictable, this is largely a genre issue as a whole, and not really confined to just Horizons Edge. It does, however, make me yearn for a bit more variety in this aspect, so as to better differentiate them from the many others. The light use of sci-fi concepts does seem to have them on the right path to this. Hopefully come the next album, we will be given a better taste of the mysterious celestial and mechanical being displayed on the cover art, hovering before that purple-tinged metropolis beneath a planetary body.

About

Jonathon is an aspiring fantasy/sci-fi novelist and music journalist. Thanks to the influence of the music he grew up with, he has always possessed a keen interest in metal and rock. He is also a huge fan of mythology, legend, and folklore from all across the world. You should follow him on Twitter.