Lost Horizon
Awakening the World (reissue)

In 2001 something happened. Something that changed the world altogether. Something big. Something that should never be forgotten. Something truly awesome: newborn Swedish power metal gods, Lost Horizon, released its debut Awakening the World via now defunct label Music for Nations. The reason I’m speaking about an 11 year old album is because The End Records recently acquired rights to a boxload of Music for Nations releases, among them Awakening the World, which is, in my humble opinion, possibly one of the best power metal albums ever conceived. After 11 years, it’s only proper to remind people of what they might have missed the first time around.

A decade ago, power metal was still relatively current genre—it had had a strong run—but times were changing and new winds were blowing into the metal kingdom. Metalcore was a bit different than it is today and melodic death metal was starting to shape-shift into something else as well. Into the maelstrom, out of nowhere, came Lost Horizon.

Without backing any of my claims with historical, canonized facts or debated timelines, I’m stating here and now that Awakening the World beat power metal into submission, forcing the once powerhouse genre to seek refuge at the sidelines for the years to come. Not because the album was a travesty – on the contrary (as I’ve already revealed). Awakening the World was, is, the Superman of power metal albums. The purest and most powerful essence of power metal is packed into the album’s 43-minute length and those 43 minutes render pretty much everything else obsolete. Perfectly executed, the album is full of melody, speed, power and the right kind of metal cheese. It’s an empowering album that pummels pussies, grindlovers and closet power metal fans into true, proud men with big penises!

“Hey man! What is this?!
Sounds like wail of a wimp
Did you let loser side take command?!
Where’s the warrior in you
And the spirit he got
You say – “lost”
No! It’s somewhere inside”

After a disarming beginning of “Quickening” (an intro of sorts) and “Heart of Storm”, “Sworn in the Metal Wind” kicks up the gear up into eleven, directing Manowar to shut the fuck up, skip the foreplay and pay attention to things far more important: You, me, them, us, we! It’s the ultimate metal song that, if there’s any justice in the world, will go down in history as one of the greatest heavy metal anthems ever conceived. The track is true to its name, it’s the turning point where we all pledge our allegiance to Heavy-fucking-Metal – and to our true selves!

“If you once tasted treason from a female – leave that!
Every warrior has a gash on his sword
Don’t forget you are metal, not some ass-kissing whore
Take some under your wings, but she must kiss the ring!“

What follows is a collection of songs that never let up, that never give up and that never fail the listener. From the rocking “World Through my Fateless Eyes” to the 9-minute epic “Kingdom of My Will”, there are no weak links to the album. Even the album’s ballad can’t be spelled without ‘balls’ as “Perfect Warrior”, absorbs good qualities from Angel Dust and out comes a song worthy to stand in between the much faster songs.

As mentioned, Lost Horizon plays godly. Preternatural Transmogrifier (drums) and Cosmic Antagonist (bass) provide a top notch galloping backbone to the act, and while Transcendental Protagonist’s soaring guitars and wonderful solos pierce through earth, wind and fire straight into the listener’s very existence, it’s Ethereal Magnanimus’ commanding, clear voice that raise Awakening the World and Lost Horizon undeniably god-like. What a voice! What a band! What an album! As for the reissue, I didn’t hear any drastic changes—if any—to the original.

Unfortunately, even Lost Horizon’s follow-up, A Flame to the Ground Beneath (released two years later in 2003), couldn’t live up to the debut’s legacy and not soon after, power metal began its exodus from the limelight towards the undergrounds of The North.

However, the biggest scrutiny I have towards the album—not that it’s the album’s fault—is the fact that not everyone is ready to take in the weight and power of Awakening the World. Many will falter, more will die but those strong and fortunate enough to hear, see, live through the experience and understand the light will forever carry on far improved.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mikko K.
February 1st, 2012

Comments

  1. Commented by: Dave S.

    Only faults with your review are…
    this is THE greatest power metal album of all time, not merely one of the greatest, and the follow up Flame to the Ground Beneath, while certainly not at the same level (less high octane, more introspective), is far from a disappointment and equally worthy of purchase as it’s also being re-released.

    Otherwise, thank you for a fitting tribute to this insanely awesome metal album that has stood the test of time. A must-hear, must-own release. Pity this band couldn’t hold it together, they could’ve and would’ve been the next Priest or Maiden, really.


  2. Commented by: Mikko

    Apologies — I merely had to save some hype for my upcoming reviews (whatever they might be).


  3. Commented by: Dan Zidar

    Nice review Mikko. I never quite understood why Lost Horizon never achieved top-tier status. Such an amazing band. Also, a little side note, 2 of the guys came from Luciferion (a mediocre Swedish death metal band).


  4. Commented by: Mikko

    2001 must have been some sort of a pinnacle for power metal, considering Tobias Sammett released Avantasia’s first Metal Opera back then too. That’s another good album, but falls short of the power that ‘Awakening the World’ contains. I suppose of the more recent releases, Sabaton’s ‘The Art of War’ has offered similar, exciting experiences.


  5. Commented by: Dan Zidar

    That’s it…. Lost Horizon came out of the gate sounding like seasoned veterans at their peak. Plus, they were actually powerful. Too often that’s what is lacking in power metal…..the power part.


  6. Commented by: Mikko

    ‘Seasoned veterans’ – a perfect way to put it. The maturity of the songwriting and the perfect execution were probably the most surprising aspects with the debut.

    Not sure what happened to the band after the 2nd album, but in my uneducated guess, power metal’s overall decline and the public’s shifting interest must have contributed to their downfall. From the top of my head, can’t really think of any truly mind blowing or truly lasting power metal albums that came around 2004-2007.

    Oh, and Falconer released their debut as well in 2001. Dug that one as well, albeit it doesn’t seem to get the same love from others.


  7. Commented by: Ace Barker

    First off – “A Flame To The Ground Beneath” is vastly superior in every way. B.What in Odin’s name is the mid-review “If you once tasted treason from a female – leave that! banter all about????


  8. Commented by: Dan Zidar

    That banter is lyrics from “Sworn In The Metal Wind”.


  9. Commented by: Mikko

    What Dan said.

    I quoted the lyric to refer to the empowering effect that the album has and especially that particular song. ‘Sworn in the Metal Wind’ is when the whole thing just kicks in at full force, filling you with the unhealthy idea of being your own person again and whatnot.

    Plus it felt only appropriate after namedropping Manowar whose recent albums have been a farcry compared to their 80s material (and up until Triumph…) It’s as if they’d forgotten who they really are — despite all the showboating and fan service (or perhaps because of it).

    A Flame To the Ground Beneath is very, very far from a bad record, but it isn’t as balls out powerful and full of defiance as the debut. It sounds more restrained and subdued despite having a a few truly stand out tracks. But, apples and oranges…


  10. Commented by: vugelnox

    love this album, glad to see it won’t be forgotten!


  11. Commented by: demise

    A terrible and juvenile cd,fit for trendy hot topic kids


  12. Commented by: Dave S.

    Some more thoughts, I remember the first and 2nd Avantasia albums and how awesome I thought those were at the time, but this record destroys both of those tenfold.

    That whole second verse lyric that you quoted is seriously one of the best metal lyrics ever. So hilarious, yet so true…also empowering is the whole of “Perfect Warrior,” “…I’m a sinner, yet forgive me nothing. I’m a heathen, but forever free!” For example.

    This album and the 2nd were so good it really prompted me to pay attention to the other bands that the Lost Horizon members participated in. Lots of average stuff. Luciferion was pretty good death metal…average, but decent. Also average but listenable was Dimmu Borgir clones Against the Plagues. I also like the Crystal Eyes album that Daniel Heiman sang on, Confessions of the Maker…real cheesy, but I can enjoy it, as I can also enjoy the Heed album (The Call). Was disappointed that Heiman ended up landing in a band that sounded like Linkin Park, I forget the name of it.

    I think given how this album has stood the test of time, it’s long overdue that these guys all reconcile and re-form. I think the Lost Horizon website is still up and still indicates that they are looking for a singer, but Wojtek is not opposed to Daniel returning.


  13. Commented by: Apollyon

    >A terrible and juvenile cd,fit for trendy hot topic kids

    Haha, what?!


  14. Commented by: Jeff Kent
  15. Commented by: Jeff Kent

    And this is what they sounded like POST Lost Horizon…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uozLlvo05Jo


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