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Dark Horizon - Aenigma

Dark Horizon
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 23 April 2018, 6:36 AM

Symphonic/Melodic/Power Metal quintet DARK HORIZON was founded in 1996 in Piacenza, Italy, and was originally the brainchild of keyboardist Allesandro Battini and guitarist Daniele Mandelli. The band released four full-length albums in the span of eleven years. Six years since their most recent release, they now present their fifth, titled “Aenigma,” which contains ten new tracks.

“Back to the Real” leads off the album, with a bright and glittering sound, fueled at first by piano and strings. The guitar riff is earnest and the vocals shine. I would loosely say that Power Metal fits the sound but with melody at the forefront. “Another Lie” has a gritty guitar riff that plays nicely with the keys and strings. It has a darker sound and a slower pace, with a little more of a sinister quality. “Future World” pushes a big chorus and features guest musician Johnny Lindqvist. Lyrically it talks about the idea that we live in the future, always wanting more, but don’t know what that might hold for each of us. “It’s Time to be a King” has both tender and alluring charms, and a weighted guitar riff that gives a commanding sound to the song. I preferred the sound of the piano solo to the guitar solo.

“Time is a Healer” is inviting and seductive. Soft clean guitar notes lead off the song and it gives way to a pleasurable sound. Vocals in the verses are expressive and combine nicely with acoustical guitar. “Ace of Hearts” is a burning track that features Klaus Dirks from MOB RULES. It’s one of the heavier songs on the album and the diversity shown so far in their songwriting is great. While the riff chugs away, Capelli is doing some nifty work on the drum kit. “Never Again” has a very accessible sound and could be a good choice for a single to showcase the album. Some more harmonies and layers in the chorus might help to really drive it home. The guitar solo is wonderfully done here. “Sea Siren Voices” has some ambient elements that provide a good backdrop for the synergy between guitar and keys, while Quassolo’s thoughtful vocals tell the story.

“The Avenger” closes the album. The leading guitar harmonies really put a spotlight on the sound. It drops off just a bit in the verses but picks up strongly again following the chorus. The guitar solo and bridge are well done. It’s a good culminating song on a strong album. It’s hard to draw an immediate comparison with other bands in the overarching umbrella of the style. “Aenigma” doesn’t have the more grandiose elements you often hear in Symphonic Metal, but that’s not a bad thing. Indeed, it make the album easier to assimilate in my opinion and be able to enjoy the melodies easier. They also strike a good balance vocally and instrumentally so that you are not overpowered by either. I definitely recommend you give it a listen.

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

4 Star Rating

1. Back to the Real
2. Another Lie
3. Future World
4. It’s Time to be a King
5. Time is a Healer
6. Ace of Hearts
7. Never Again
8. Hell’s Fire Wheels
9. Sea Sirens Voices
10. The Avenger
Roberto Quassolo – Vocals
Daniele Mandelli – Guitar
Alessandro Battini – Keyboards
Luca Capelli – Drums
Paolo Veluti – Bass
Record Label: Underground Symphony


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