Lost Horizon: A flame to the ground beneath
08/05/12 || BamaHammer
Lost Horizon is probably not a household name in power metal. However, these Swedes did release a pair of fantastic albums long ago, the second of which is this, “A flame to the ground beneath”. It still stands today as one of my absolute favorite power metal albums ever based on the energy, aggressiveness, melodic guitar work, and insanely inhuman vocals. Once you get past the band’s ridiculous appearance, you’ll find a band that is loaded with talent and overflowing with excellent song ideas.
9. This could actually be higher if not for the fact that three of the nine tracks on the album are stupid fucken ambient instrumentals that serve no purpose whatsoever. Other than that, I consider every single song on here one of the all time power metal greats to some extent. The songs are actually pretty lengthy as well, but you hardly even notice because of the quality. Other than “Again will the fire burn”, every song is in the six-minute-minimum range, and there is also the utterly amazing “Highlander (the one)” clocking in at a shade under 12 minutes. Each track is enjoyable from the first listen and seems to take you to another place. This isn’t power metal of the cheesy variety. This is truly epic, fantastical power metal that’s heavy and aggressive, but at the same time, it’s melodic and memorable. Outside of the aforementioned shitty interludes, there’s not a single second of disappointment on this album.
9,5. As pristine as it gets. The levels of each instrument are almost perfect, and the guitar lead tone cuts through the mix like a katana made of midrange. The keyboards may be a tad high is some spots as they dominate the soundscape from time to time, but honestly, it doesn’t matter. This is one excellent sounding record.
9. It’s a duo and a damned good one, but Wojtek Lisicki is the man with the plan here. I also thoroughly enjoyed his work on the death metal side of things with Luciferion back in the day (“Demonication” is a badass album if you haven’t heard it). What he does on this album however, is crank out tasty riff after tasty riff and the result is an album that never lets you down for a second. Every verse and every chorus are just beautiful, and you never really grow tired of hearing anything because of the volume of ideas held within each individual song. The solos generally lack a lot of speed and technical showmanship, but each one is melodic and immensely enjoyable. Trust me when I say you’ll be singing the guitar leads to yourself like a total nerd within a few listens.
9. Honestly, the bass on this album is actually comparable to Steve Harris’s work on many a Maiden album in terms of how it drives the music. It’s always very prominent in the mix and clear as a bell, which allows you to hear every note that’s played. The bass lines themselves are not what I would call overly complicated outside of a few speedy finger-plucking parts, but it’s so in sync with the drums and the rest of each song that it just sounds magnificent.
14,5. Forget about the goofy pseudonym of Ethereal Magnanimus or whatever and meet Daniel Heiman. The guy is inhuman. Most power metal vocalists have an invariable tendency to sound pretty wimpy when they begin to approach the limit of the upper register of their voice. The result is of course the cheesy nut-huggin’ sound that has become associated with all the mighty and epic power metal that has defined stereotypes over the years. Heiman (huh huh) possesses an ability not only to reach ungodly high notes but also to add dynamics and character to the notes as well. To this day, I’ve yet to hear a more naturally gifted vocalist. The guy can simply wail like no one else on earth. Go to “Highlander (The One)” and skip to about 7:08 and listen for about 10 seconds. That’s all you’ve got to say.
9. This is impressive work, to say the least, not because of an inordinate amount of speed or technical tomfoolery, but because of how tightly everything is performed. Every fill, every cymbal hit, every rhythm sounds like it happens with an assured deliberateness about it, and it makes an already pristine record sound that much better. Christian Nyqvist is a fantastic drummer and needs more exposure.
7,5. You know when famous people start talking crazy about some psycho belief they’ve acquired over the course of a drugged-out weekend? That’s what you get here. they talk about fate and swords and journeys and fire, but it’s all in regards to the crazy “fate vs. free will” ideology Lost Horizon seems to have immersed their entire existence into spreading. To be honest, it’s a little nutty. It does work for power metal though.
He’s the one, pure in his heart,
Shining fair in the pride, never lost.
Noble grace, unbroken faith
Running throughout the fields immense,
Shouting free in the air embraced,
Dancing there with the wind.
Manly, manly stuff.
7. It’s really spacey and “out there” and pretty metal, and that basically tells the story of what this band sounds like. It could have been better, I guess. It also could have been a lot worse.
2,5. Purple ist krieg. If you have six dudes in your band, it’s probably a pretty terrible idea to have them all pose shirtless on the cover anyway. It’s probably even worse to paint designs on their faces and chests. However, if you did choose to put all that on the cover, surely you would have enough foresight not to obscure each member’s feet by having them burst forth from the top of a tornado in space. Doh. Well, it’s still better than their last cover travesty .
6,5. It’s a booklet. It’s got lyrics and credits in it. Oh, and it’s got pictures of the shirtless band members in their ridiculously stupid warpaint and cloaks and enchanted leather bracers (+1 to palm-muting) and whatnot. It makes Manowar seem socially acceptable.
Overall and Ending Rant
So there it is. This is one of my favorite albums ever and one I would call nearly perfect. Whether you’re a fan of power metal or not, you owe it to yourself to hear this album if for no other reason that to experience the vocals. I really wish they had stayed together with Daniel Heiman and all, but I guess some things are too good to last.
- Released: 2003
- Label: Music For Nations
- Website: www.oncelosthorizon.com
- Ethereal Magnanimus (Daniel Heiman): vocals
- Equilibrian Epicurius (Fredrik Olsson): guitars
- Transcendental Protagonist (Wojtek Lisicki): guitars
- Cosmic Antagonist (Martin Furängen): bass
- Perspicacious Protector (Attila Publik): keyboards
- Preternatural Transmogrifier (Christian Nyqvist): drums
- 01. Transdimensional Revelation
- 02. Pure
- 03. Lost in the Depths of Me
- 04. Again Will the Fire Burn
- 05. The Song of Earth
- 06. Cry of a Restless Soul
- 07. Think Not Forever
- 08. Highlander (The One)
- 09. Deliverance