Horisont – Odyssey (Rise Above)

Thursday, 29th October 2015
Rating: 7.5/10

Great opening line in Horisont’s bio for Odyssey: “Big of mustache and tight of trouser.” Normally, us metal press folks are greeted with endless lines of hyperbole in relation to the music we’re about to be listening to. This little line, on the other hand, flips the visual script…if you catch our drift. But such tongue and cheek ideas are a virtual necessity given the band’s chosen field, which would be classic, retro rock. It’s becoming a dead man’s scramble, with the style’s resurgence getting closer to the end than the beginning. So here comes the Swedes all space truckin’ on Odyssey.

Thinking back to the band’s 2013 Time Warriors, Horisont’s strengths lie with the dueling guitar interplay of Charlie Van Loo and Tom Sutton. Clearly, they’re disciples of the Thin Lizzy school of trade-offs and harmonies, establishing a front line of NWOBHM-tinged riffs, albeit dialed-down properly to fit the retro aesthetic. On Odyssey, Horisont goes for it right away with the ten-minute title track, which is stocked with breaks, tom tumbles, lick swapping, Maiden gallops, and the hurried, but passionate vocals of Axel Soderberg.

Soderberg may not have the range and versatility as his contemporaries, so he’s often playing the side man on the bar-hopping “Bar Leder Blind” or “Light My Way.” He does, however, show off some depth on “The Night Stalker,” the album’s in-and-around Deep Purple cut. (Easy to dig those perilous, spacy harmonies that pop up when the chorus comes in.)

The whole “outer space” thing may give Horisont some additional elements in which to work, but the band will, for an extended period, be one of the more adventurous lots to hold court in the retro brigade. Odyssey is certainly the band’s most exploratory effort to date, an album given Time Warriors’ straight-ness, may not be something that everyone was expecting. Good to keep ‘em on their toes.

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