Lost Horizon
Awakening the World

Heavy metal really hasn’t changed in the 30 odd years the music genre has been invading the humble homes of suburbanite, disenfranchised kids. Whether it serves as a confidence booster, a unifying rally cry or simply music to party by, heavy metal has and always will be a part of the general overview of music. With that train of thought and in that order, Sweden’s Lost Horizon brings the world yet another platter of unabashed fantasy-driven heavy metal with enough pomp to make Rhapsody look humble in comparison. While that’s a grand feat in and of itself, the overabundance of band photos (bare-chested shots only, of course), ultra-cheesy cover artwork and stage names (Preternatural Transmogrifyer, et al.) doesn’t detract from the obvious fact that Lost Horizon writes impossibly catchy heavy metal in the classic vein of Helloween, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest with subtle infusion of progressive rock thrown in for good measure. Quality notwithstanding, does the world need another band of this style? Statistically, the answer is no. The quantity over quality ratio in heavy metal greatly leans to the former, which is why Kamelot, Evergrey and, of course, Lost Horizon are required to balance the scales. Whereas Hammerfall, Primal Fear, and the myriad of pretenders to the throne simply ape the formalities of the genre for a brief moment of glory, Lost Horizon actually realize their songwriting prowess and craft an album’s worth of songs that are unmistakably predictable in the traditional sense of structure but feature a gigantic sense of melody and profound musicality. With a latent songwriting talent helmed by former Luciferion axeman Wojtek Lisicki, Lost Horizon is also home to a great vocalist, Daniel Heiman (aka Ethereal Magnanimus), whose pipes fit firmly and confidently between Ronnie James Dio and Forbidden’s Russ Anderson. From “Heart of Storm” to “The Kingdom of My Will,” Heiman’s rock-solid performance is yet another example why Lost Horizon, as a musical force, is an exponential improvement over many of their peers. The guitar work of Lisicki throughout Awakening the World is nothing short of extraordinary, as evidenced in the stunning fretboard marvel of “World through My Fateless Eyes” and the overt harmony of “Denial of Fate.” In many ways, the guitarist combines a classical sense of composition without sounding at all like the soundtrack pretense of, say, Rhapsody – everything here is steeped in tradition, but not so to the extent that it’s merely another bout of nostalgia for 80’s metallers. Rhythmically speaking, Lost Horizon expertly grounds and then propels each song into the stratosphere. Bassist Martin Furangen and drummer Christian Nyquist are definitely the foremost musicians in their field, using tact, restraint and raw talent to their fullest advantage. If there’s one complaint to hurl in Lost Horizon’s direction it’s in the appearance of the band and art direction: far too often bands of this nature rely on gimmick to sell their music. Lost Horizon, on a musical level, are mature enough and simply can’t afford people to dismiss them as ‘just another power metal band.’ To reiterate, Awakening the World is far from groundbreaking, so those looking for an album with a deeper sense of purpose should look into Borknagar or on a lyrical basis In Flames. Yet, heavy metal this proficient and powerful is difficult to deny and, ultimately, enjoy for what it is. Lost Horizon do indeed have a promising future ahead of them. Awakening the World is testament to that.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Chris Dick
May 20th, 2001

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