Mondo Gordo > Alternative Culture Guide > Playlist > Lost Horizon

Awakening The World
(Music For Nations / Koch Records)

Over the course of a few months, I've gotten to know this guy Tommy who works down at our local used vinyl emporium. An expert in all things metal, he labels the sort of sturm und drang kicked out by Lost Horizon as “operatic metal” and I guess that's as good a name for it as you'll find. One only has to hear Lost Horizon's considerable vocalist – listed only as “Ethereal Magnanimus” in the liner notes – screeching like Dio on steroids to know that this is probably what Wagner had in mind in the first place.

Along with other northern European bands like Rhapsody, Sweden's Lost Horizon is redefining certain boundaries of the metal genre. Conjuring up aural images of Valkyries and swordplay, sorcery and heroism, Lost Horizon take Richie Blackmore's Teutonic fantasies to their logical extreme with Awakening The World. Cranking out tales of reluctant champions and soul searching and great battles, the songs are accompanied by soaring vocals, guitars that ring like clashing swords giving off sparks and crushing rhythms that drive the music forward at breakneck pace. It's heady stuff, and easy to get caught up in even if you're not a big metal fan.

A deluxe booklet comes with Awakening The World that includes lyrics, photos and each band member's “warrior name” and comments. If I were a teenage misfit (instead of the middle-aged misfit that I've become), I'd eat this shit up like ice cream, memorizing every word and every guitar riff from every song. As such, I find Lost Horizon intelligent and invigorating. Besides, you have to love a band that considers as disparate a group of human beings as Noam Chomsky, the Wu Tang Clan, Beethoven, Ozzy Osborne, Quentin Tarantino and Phil Lynott, among others, as kindred spirits.

(Koch Records, 740 Broadway, New York NY 10003)

Review by Rev. Keith A. Gordon, copyright 2001

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