Inherent grace, free from this waste
Insight and pain, sacred romance
Freedom not greed, a doubtless choice for me to make"
One Word Review: Inspiring
Back in 2003 Lost Horizon delivered a magnificent feast of powerful, aggressive and melodic music, overflowing with emotion and positive spirits. At the time it blew me away and through the past 11 years it has not lost its initial impact. Instead it has become a steadfast companion against any obstacles. It has all the signs of a classic and I don't see myself getting tired of it ever. A Flame To The Ground Beneath remains one of those exhilarating experiences, I don't get very often.
Lost Horizon play Heavy Metal of a high technical level and they manage to convey many recognizable emotions through their music and lyrics. The fantastic thing is how well the music fits the lyrics and the powerful theme of the album. Lost Horizon is indeed an intense experience and only very few bands are able to give me this kind of feeling.
In short, this is music that inspires.
Listening to the 2 minute intro is like a journey to a completely relaxed state of mind, before all hell breaks loose in Pure. Pure shows the first signs of change since the band's debut, Awakening The World. The composition is more complex and the song is packed with breaks and tempo changes, yet everything flows incredibly well.
In fact this describes all the songs on the album. Complex compositions with an incredible flow. With three out of six real songs having a running time over 8 minutes and the rest around 6 minutes, you can probably imagine that these are no typical straight ahead metal tracks. The many layers and complexity in the music is dazzling at times. You can be sure that this album will take some time to get into.
Pure is ruled by a fantastic crisp guitar sound (all the songs have this quality). The guitar parts will make you smile and go "Ahhh..." They have a special quality to them that brings a kind of soaring feeling to the music and a feeling of being lifted off the ground. Sometimes the guitar harmonizes with the vocals of Daniel Heiman (like at the ending of the first verse) and this adds a very special touch. Excellent! The lyrics of Pure are about being, just that.
Lost In the Depths Of Me starts out with a cool, melodic and somehow uplifting guitar solo, before changing into a slower, heavy riff for the verse. Hold your breath for the change that occurs about halfway through. It's a spine chiller... Overall a very bombastic, mid-tempo song, with more divine singing and excellent guitar parts, about never giving up. I have also found this track one of the hardest to get into but through the years it has kept growing and has become a favorite. An always fascinating journey.
Again Will The Fire Burn feels like a continuation of Lost in the depths of me, both musically and lyrically. The tempo is a little faster but still mid-tempo, and here is a chance to enjoys some extremely cool bass playing. The lyrics are again strong in their message about overcoming all obstacles and finding your inner voice.
Cry Of A Restless Soul is a bold statement. It opens in an all out frantic assault, quickly slows down for a spoken passage and is followed by an instrumental passage, a tension building momentum, ripped apart by a barrage of high-pitch voices united in a scream of rebirth and then, in pitch perfect harmony, the first verse ensues with what is among my favorite moments on the entire album. As Daniel sings the line "Shine in my heart... strange colours embracing me", the feeling is close to pure ecstasy. I cannot hear this passage without clenching my fist to harness the power that flows from my speakers. There is something ethereal and life affirming about this passage and the song in its entirety. A truly special song, which evolves from here into a magnificent hymn to the strength of will.
Daniel surpasses himself again in Think Not Forever with another album highlight. Not the opening scream but the delivery of the line "You should follow your spirit as your guide" , which is sung with such passion that you forget everything around you and just fly away with the music. Again the emotional guitar playing helps achieve this special feeling thoughout the song.
Every song is a little masterpiece in itself, but nothing surpasses the splendour of the 12 minute epic movie tie-in Highlander (The One). This song is incredible and almost out of this world. This one is worth the entire album. Daniel's performance on here is completely mind blowing. He sings with such passion that you would think he's reciting a Shakespearean play and his life depended on it. The song leaves me breathless and with a feeling of awe. From the opening world-breathing howl, through to the finishing instrumental "race for the finish line", the song is one mighty pleasure ride. With enough parts to make up several good songs, it could easily have felt like a jumbled mess, but the way it is put together, the song flows perfectly with one part effortlessly being succeeded by the next.
Deliverance is a good way to get back down on earth after this complete Metal onslaught of power and emotion.
The songs on "A Flame To The Ground Beneath" feel more connected than on "Awakening The World" and together they form an album of immense proportions.
The band is not without a sense of humor and as the self-proclaimed bringers of Metal salvation they take on an over-the-top image head on. The cover artwork and dedications within shows both a deeply serious stance but also that tongue in cheek sense of humor. In the end, what matters to me is the music and this element speaks for itself throughout the album.
The production is pretty much perfect. Especially the guitar sound is beyond amazing. Every instrument is played to perfection. The most apparent instruments are the guitars played by Wojtek Lisicki and Fredrik Olsson. They are everywhere and keep the album fresh and interesting, with one majestic melody and solo run after another. The drums are very technical, tight and lay a perfect background for the rest of the band. Christian Nyquist plays with great skill, and it's fascinating to just sit down and try to keep up with the inventive drumming.
An honorable mention also goes to the bass playing of Martin Furängen. He plays along with the exquisite drumming on most songs and helps give the band their extremely tight sound. When he breaks loose from the drums the result is amazing, like on Again Will The Fire Burn and Cry Of A Restless Soul.
The keyboard is wisely kept in the background most of the time, and used to enhance the atmosphere of songs. Attila (the Bun) Publik gives the keyboard a special light sound that fits the other instruments perfectly in every single song.
Throughout the album Singer Daniel Heiman puts on a jaw dropping performance. His powerful voice is able to express all kinds of emotion and throughout every song, he surpasses himself again and again. He is able to sing with a very clear high voice without sounding like he's straining.
The passion of the bands members is obvious and transfers across to the listener with great impact.
The lyrical message the album brings is a strong one about being true to yourself and doing what you feel is right in life. Like I said earlier, lyrics and music combined manage to convey this message with huge passion. The album feels like a hymn to the power of each individual on this planet.
Lost Horizon's music is incredible, and the message in their songs rings true. There are countless spine chilling moments on A flame to the ground beneath, and at times it feels like it defies time and space.
A flame to the ground beneath is not easily digested. The songs are complex and feel very packed together. I could keep on writing for a long time about all the little ingenious details, I noticed after all these years, but I will leave that for you to discover. I'm sure that I will pull out this album in another decade and still be amazed by what I hear. Lost Horizon are not directly comparable to any other band. They have managed to create an instantly recognizable sound. I am still patiently waiting for the next album.
To sum up: A powerful and inspiring album with beautiful music.
No Fate. Only the power of will.
Written By Steen
Online: Thursday, August 21, 2014
Again Will The Fire Burn
Cry Of A Restless Soul
Highlander (The One)