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LOST HORIZON 'Awakening the World' CD (Music For Nations)
My first listen to this record had me believeing that Lost Horizon were German. Awakening the World has a typically Germanic music-as-precision-engineering approach with losts of well produced crunchy guitars. However, singer Etherial Magnanimus (not his real name) is a cut above the usual Teutonic screecher (see Primal Fear review for further discussion of this subject) and thus it's not a surprise to learn that the band are in fact Swedish. This is their first album and all things considered it's a pretty decent debut. The songs are fast and intricate sounding without ever degenerating into tuneless noise. It's refreshing to hear a band that can sound powerful while keeping melody to the fore. Stand out track in this regard is "Welcome Back" which makes fine use of atmospheric keyboards and coruscating guitars. Lyrically the band seem to espouse a form of martial paganism which evokes an atmosphere of titanic struggles in the past as well as perhaps foretelling battles to come against the evils of the modern world. A brief examination of the record's cover suggests a deep rooted antipathy towards global capitalism and all that goes with it, with the band depicting themselves as liberators of the oppressed masses. This attitude helps to give the record a real exuberant quality, Lost Horizon sound genuinely passionate about their beliefs. However, my reservations about the band also stem from this aspect of the group's persona. I think it might be limiting for them in the future if their songs continue to emphasise the pagan warrior type imagery and they could easily degenerate into a kind of sub-Dungeons and Dragons style parody. Anybody remember Manowar? In a similar vein I also wonder whether their penchant for costume might also lead to difficulties in being taken seriously. As someone who grew up with the jeans/trainers/T-shirt ethic of eighties thrash metal I have to admit I'm letting my crusty old prejudices show here. Despite that I think this is a solid record and I'd certainly be interested in hearing anything Lost Horizon do subsequently.
[Linden Dunham]