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Though their sound comes straight out of the spacy prog and proto-metal of the '70s, Swedish stoner rock band Horisont are children of the 21st century. The band conjure the sounds of rock and metal's exploratory era with sprawling recordings such as 2009's Två Sidor Av Horisonten, which evokes the space boogie of Blue Oyster Cult and the harder progressive influences of Wishbone Ash and Jethro Tull with the drive and desire of England's NWOBHM. 2013's Time Warriors showcased the outfit developing a more pronounced progressive metal aesthetic while retaining the melodic hard rock hooks (think Status Quo). With About Time in 2017, Horisont had developed their own idiosyncratic sound that wove in everything from choogling metal and riff-centric hard rock (a la Deep Purple) to labyrinthine melodies worthy of early Kansas with the power of Hawkwind and the lyric drama and twin-guitar attack of Thin Lizzy. Formed in 2006, Horisont began life with the lineup of vocalist Axel Soderberg guitarists Charles Van Loo and Kristofer Möller, bassist Magnus Delborg, and drummer Pontus Jordan. Their gigs quickly put them at the forefront of the Scandinavian retro-rock revival (Witchcraft, Graveyard, etc.), with a sound that cherished early Status Quo-styled boogie blues, prog complexities, Hell Bent for Leather swagger, and chant-worthy choruses fueled by loads of volume. The music was made without irony, unafraid to acknowledge an allegiance to past greats. The band's first album, Tva Sidor Av Horisonten, arrived on Crusher Records in 2009. They garnered a largely positive response and followed with 2012's Second Assault (for Metal Blade), offering a dirtier, fuzzier brand of hard, revivalist psych rock. They earned prominent slots performing at music festivals and clubs as well as universally positive reviews. 2013's Time Warriors upped the creative ante and offered a much deeper, more satisfying display of the band's deft prog bona fides, borrowing dynamics and expansive harmonics from Yes, with a more forceful attack. Their concert bookings went through the roof and they toured all across Europe and South America. In 2015, they issued the self-described "space saga" Odyssey for Rise Above. Guitarist Kristofer Möller was replaced by Australian Church of Misery axeman Tom Sutton, and a bout of international touring was intended to integrate Sutton firmly into the lineup, but it didn't work. They re-entered the studio and emerged with About Time in 2017, their debut outing for Century Media. Horisont had replaced Sutton with guitarist/vocalist David Kälin, and delivered an outing as heavy as it was progressive, expanding their reputation to American audiences who fell in love their propulsive, hook-driven sound. In 2020 Horisont issued their sophomore outing for Century Media. Entitled Sudden Death, its opening track "Into the Night" initially shocked fans and critics for its softer, more prog pop than hard rock sound, borrowing a melodic sensibility more akin to ELO than anything else. The sculpted high vocal harmonies, pianos, glockenspiels, and the saxophone of new member Oskar Bäcklin added a much more complex yet alluring depth and dimension to their sound.
© Gregory Heaney & Thom Jurek /TiVo
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