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Black Horizon - Dark Light

Black Horizon
Dark Light
by Rachel Montgomery at 21 May 2019, 2:30 AM

BLACK HORIZON is a French heavy metal band that got its start in 2000 and has been going strong for nearly two decades. Blending European and American styles, the band’s latest album is a mix of melodic and doom. However, there was something missing throughout most of the album that I couldn’t place. The songs, while done in a heavy style, didn’t feel heavy or powerful. The opening track, “The Hunter,” reminded me of 2000's hard rock with the tuned-down guitar and steady opening riff. That impression ended once the vocals started, putting the style of the song in the early-doom-metal camp. With the monotonous guitar riffs and constant melodies, there was nothing interesting. While this song is meant to be heavy, it felt like it was missing something. Although it was written in a heavy style, there was no “oomph,” excepting rolling drums here and there.

I experienced the same feeling with the next track “Obsession.” After an awkward vocal opening, the song was a little punchier once the instrumentals kicked in, but it felt like it lacked passion and power, despite the heavy style. I did like the melodic guitars in the track though, and I felt like it was a solid song overall. The highlight of the album is its middle. “Close to Me” opened strong and finally brought the heavy passion that was lacking in the first two songs. It had great ambiance, especially in the guitar work, and more pronounced drumbeats and rolls that lent to a punchy sound. The opening of “Freedom” reminded me of GRAND MAGUS’ sound, and the rest of the song continued the homage. It worked with the overall tone of the song, which continued into the next track, “Howling Like a Wolf.” I liked the thrash elements, as well as the good, melodic elements in the chorus. The melody change, followed by the ambiance of howling wolves, was a nice touch. The fast, rhythmic guitars at the end had nice sweeps, and I could see this song being fun at a concert.

“I Wanna Stop” is where the album loses its oomph again. There’s no emotion here, no passion. Again, it’s in a heavy style, but there’s something about it that makes it sound too tame and too restrained. The thrash elements in the chorus almost get it to where it needs to be, but not quite. “Watching (Camera#9)” brings back the punchiness, but the vocals sound restrained.
Finally, both versions of “Miles Away” are pretty, however, I preferred the traditional version to the acoustic, where I think the vocals don’t carry the song in the way they should; in parts of the acoustic version, they’re too nasally and even in the traditional version, the transitions from light to heavy and back are awkward.

Overall, there were some great tracks on the album, but it was lacking in passion and power. It felt bland. I think if they re-worked it in the studio with an emphasis on drums and bass, it could be a wonderful powerhouse of an album. If it catches on, and they do a re-master in a few years, I would love to hear it. However, with what we have, it’s lack of passion and power means this album isn’t for me.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 5

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Hunter
2. Obsession
3. Walking Close To Me
4. Freedom
5. Howling Like A Wolf
6. I Wanna Stop
7. Watching (Camera#9)
8. Miles Away
9. Miles Away (acoustic version)
Lineup:
Alex Puiseux – Vocals
Seb Crispino – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Dom Crispino – Bass
Philip Strobel – Drums, Keyboards
Record Label: Pure Steel Publishing
     


Rating

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Edited 08 December 2019
 

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