It has been a decade now since I first saw A Forest Of Stars at their debut gig in Leeds, and they’ve always occupied a special place for me in music since then. They mash-up progressive Black Metal with a folky presence and wrap it up within a steampunk inspired Victorian based package. What results from this can sometimes be a little hit and miss, but generally contains many objects of wonder. Grave Mounds and Grave Mistakes, marks their third full length released on Prophecy Productions.Continue reading
The Antichrist Imperium features Akercocke and The Berzerker members in equal numbers amongst their ranks, and with the release of second album Volume II: Every Tongue Shall Praise Satan (Apocalyptic Witchcraft) it seems that team Akercocke is determined to show that they’re on one hell of a creative roll at the minute. Like their other projects, there’s that unmistakable Akercocke tone woven throughout; they’re clearly confident and comfortable with each other as musicians and are free to experiment. Continue reading
When Battle Beast guitarist and co-founder Anton Kabanen left the band in 2015 shortly after their third album Unholy Savior (Nuclear Blast) had topped the charts in their native Finland, it left the remaining members somewhat unsure of their future.Continue reading
The term ‘retro rock’ is quite an ambiguous and, at times, ignorant one; used to describe any band that shows obvious traits from vintage bands whilst often ignoring when the band steps beyond these pigeonholes. Sweden’s Horisont have lived with the retro tag throughout their career with good reason up to this point, proving fairly rigid and set in their ways. On latest opus Odyssey (Rise Above) however, they have upped their game significantly.
Building on the slight elements of progressive rock on their last album, here those 70’s Prog influences are vivid and much more central to the album’s fabric, as evidenced by the opening 10 minute, synth driven title track. As much influenced by the likes of Jeff Wayne and Yes as the likes of Fleetwood Mac and even hints of psychedelic elements ala Hawkwind, Odyssey is a very colourful and quirky album that oozes character and charm with as many hooks as it has left-field signatures.
Where it suffers is in its duration; with two songs above the 8 minute mark and most others around 5-6 it proves a time consuming and somewhat arduous one to fully grasp and digest. Given time however and this has a wealth of gold to delve in to.
Where Horisont may have firm classic influences, from classic rock to the more progressive arena now, how they meld them together and evolve themselves shows why they are so much more than just a ‘retro rock’ act.
No less fun, but with a greater sense of discovery to them than many of their peers.