Anubis Gate "Horizons" CD
- Product Review (submitted on June 17, 2014):
- ANUBIS GATE ... "THE PROGG POWER METAL ALCHEMISTS"
Finally, after repeatedly listening to the MP3 version of this album kindly donated by Lance King and later, my original copy of the CD purchased to NIGHTMARE RECORDS, I concluded I should skip my review track by track as the members of Anubis Gate did, because I believe that every song is so different from each other, and because this is not a conceptual work.
Although writing a review of a work of Anubis Gate is not easy, as there are many aspects to consider.
1. DESTINED TO REMEMBER - (It's time to face yourself...Clear your mind and you'll be free...)
I agree with Morten and Henrik that is a beautiful opening song of the album and much like to "Hold Back Tomorrow" of the previous s/t album. An intriguing line on keyboards leads to an intro which highlights the work of the guitars and the solid performance of Morten with such strong syncopation in the snare, tom-tom's, and double bass drum, to make way for the main theme and then the chorus. Also very good climate created with keyboards background worthy of a horror movie. This scheme is repeated once more until reach a bridge, after that, we arrive at the beautiful guitar solo of Michel in the middle/low register, rare in the genre guitarists, which finally leads to a mysterious passage (3'30'') leading us towards a second bridge (3'48'') and (4'11"), then a peaceful backwater that drive us to a carrousel guitar riff and to a desperate Henrik shout (5') that reminded me "Highway Star" by Deep Purple. Finally, again exposes the theme but without the chorus to get a nice final.
2. NEVER LIKE THIS (A DREAM) - (Caged in, a moment's reflection it's never been like this...)
After an abrupt start, one would imagine to be in front of one of those songs that Anubis Gate has accustomed us, full of different sections, constant changes of rhythm, and inspired guitar solos, but instead, we find a simple song with a catchy melody and chorus, basic in its structure (two verses-chorus-verse-chorus-solo-chorus), which emphasizes the central part with a deep keyboards solo of Kim, after which, the initial theme exposes to reach a surprising and sudden end! For my taste, it would have been good a guitar solo after keyboards solo to create another variation on the theme. But in fact, after a few listens, the chorus is extremely catchy!!!
3. HEAR MY CALL - (Heeeeaaar my Caaaaaaall...Ohooooooo my Goooooood...!)
Undoubtedly one of the highlights of the album. After the overwhelming start with the crushing guitars of Kim and Michel and the awesome job on the double bass drum of Mr. "Flam" Morten Gade Sorensen, exposes the theme twice where the vocal work of Henrik stands well above the level reached in the previous s/t album, and his work flawless on bass, and then to hear this electrifying chorus "Hear my Call .." again, ruffling the hair until we reach one of the most beautiful passages of the album, the lovely Spanish guitar solo of Kim in the style of "Solace" from the "Cielo e Terra" album by Al DiMeola, and then resume the theme highlighted this time in a higher tone and fall in one of the most beautiful guitar solos I ever heard, executed masterfully in the medium/low register by Michel, who understood what Anubis Gate means, and what their fans expect to hear on every album of the band...I love the roaring effect at (5'01")...Great!!!...(Heeeeaaar My chaeaeaeaeael!!!...). The song ends with the chorus exposure and a gentle end with a hopeful chord. Excellent!
4. AIRWAYS - (Hold tight and the wings of faith will take you higher...)
One of the best songs on the album. With an introduction reminiscent of the acoustic songs of Led Zeppelin, breaks one of the most perfect sections ever written by the band, very similar to "Point Of No Concern" from the album "Andromeda Unchained". Dominate the overwhelming syncopation on drums by Morten with a hard rhythm pattern, and good heavy guitars riffs of Kim and Michel more well Henrik crystalline voice which seems increasingly to Jon Anderson of Yes in the high register.
I really love as Henrik sings in this song. The section is repeated once more and the catchy chorus leads to another section Led Zeppelin style, with its central part repeating the intro and leading us to the end of a soundscape with a sharp and beautiful guitar solo by Kim masterfully executed, then the chorus takes us to the end of the theme as it began. This song is the best example of what a fan expects of Anubis Gate: originality; staccato rhythms; crushing riffs; vocal harmonies; and above all, guitar and/or keyboards solos.
5. REVOLUTION COME UNDONE - (The world is turning upside down, and it might affect you too!)
Chaotic; brutal; viking; is how I define this song, at the style of "Desiderio Omnibus" from the previous album. A high voltage that only decreases towards the (1'20") with a short passage that leads to the pre-chorus, then the chorus itself and a central part rhythmically intricate and perfect carpeted for the keyboards of Kim, to fall into another guitar solo of Michel showing your good taste to embellish a theme with so much adrenaline. And then, an original vocal harmony of Henrik at Jon Anderson style, the chorus, and preparing for an electrifying and devastating all orchestra final section, with guitars accompanying rhythmically the indefatigable Morten and keyboards creating a sidereal and mysterious atmosphere.
6. BREACH OF FAITH - (The fight against injustice only just begun...)
The perfect blend between W.A.Mozart; U2; and Anubis Gate... is this possible? Really is, Anubis Gate did!!! Beautiful intro with the main theme on the piano taken from the second movement (Adagio in F Sharp minor in 6/8 compass) of the "Piano Concerto No. 23 in A, K 488" by W.A.Mozart which is an excellent idea because old composers used to take other themes to write variations. It follows with a passage at "Where The Streets Have No Name" U2 best style to get ahead in a vibrant theme, the voice of Henrik with his excellent vocal arrangements, guitars riffs of Kim and Michel and forcefulness of Morten. The theme is repeated twice until a bridge that leads to a fantastic guitar solo that Kim merely reaffirm his genius and the importance of their guitar solos in the music of Anubis Gate. Again the intro theme in the piano, which modulates to a new key to finish in another lush and expressive guitar solo of Kim this time only to highlight the main theme in the form of variation/coda "ad libitum" modulating a couple of times to squeeze the most genius of W.A.Mozart. At the conclusion the intro theme in the piano to modulate again to fall in the chorus and bridge ending in a beautiful final. Fantastic!!!
7. MINDLESSNESS - (The ideal tomorrow was changed all along...)
For me, the most original and complex theme of the album. With an intro that portends another hymn of Anubis Gate in 9/8 tempo!, we reached the first section that may sound to some melodic...but original, the same repeats a couple of times with a passage therein which is the most beautiful of the album which highlights the "pick scrapes" down effect on guitars, to close this section reaches the prelude to an electrifying bridge with guitars and keyboards creating an epic atmosphere that leads to the intro theme, but its resolution leads to a variation of the first section without guitars riffs, until we finally reached the passage above, but this time finishing in the beautiful and inspirational final coda with an guitar and keyboards arpeggio in the background.
I think modestly, that this coda could have been more majestic with a two guitars duel solo in counterpoint.
8. HORIZONS - (I wanted to seek, I wanted to find, I wanted only things that once was mine...)
After a brief intro at "Achilles Last Stand" style of Led Zeppelin starts the more epic theme of the album. Within its apparent simplicity this song is pure inspiration and is highly addictive! It is the succession of the same verse but with different headers and ends. The last one leads to a beautiful backwater at the (2'), that portends a masterful outcome...This section is repeated again always with the pulsating bass drums of Morten and guitars singing the background theme reaching its climax towards the (3'05") one of the most beautiful passages of the album. This passage is screwed in my mind and I keep listening it again and again. A pity that was not flavored with just two guitars solo in a questions and answers game. The opening verse is repeated again but this time leads to an unexpected end...because this song was born to have no end!, as the continued flight of swifts, (I imagine that refers to the cover illustration), the song is the album's title track and inexplicably is one of the shortest! I really think it was a song that deserved to last no less than 6'. Anyway, I love this song!!!
9. A DREAM WITHIN A DREAM - (Maybe things are not what they seem. Maybe...)
A monumental Progg Power Metal Masterwork!!! The song opens with a first section recalls the second track of the album where the "tired" voice of Henrik introduce us in a "pop" atmosphere that grows in intensity until it leads us to an inspired steel/slide guitar solo of Kim (2'18") at "High Hopes" style by David Gilmour after which takes up the theme of the home until at (3'25") immerse ourselves in a worthy of a mystery movie (The Dream Within) Kim's typical subject ideas at "Tundra" style inserted into "The End Of Millenium Road" from Adromeda Unchained album. It develops until reach at (6'20") to a first guitar solo, the theme continues until (8'08") a second guitar solo that leads to the conclusion of this section and at (9'10") begins the third section, with the same topic as above but now sung by guitars and with a change of rhythm. The section becomes visceral and at (11'28") a third guitar solo leads us to the last (11'45") and aggressive guitar solo, the tension grows until reaching a beautiful and chaotic final coda with crushing guitars and keyboards as protagonists, and a relentless Morten in perfect communion with the bass and the voice of Henrik.
Simply stunning!!!...For its greatness, I think it should have been the final track on the album.
10. ERASURE - (Wasting, I've been merely wasting. Hours that remain unsung by my voice...)
A song from another album. A beautiful and intimate ballad sung with much feeling by Henrik, which clearly note the influence of jazz on the composition and his singing. The first section is a long verse accompanied by acoustic guitar that repeat a couple of times until the chorus (1'). Then this section is repeated first with a studio recording ambience with the amplified acoustic guitar, and then acquires full force with the whole band in full, to end as at the beginning with the verse and chorus sung once. Maybe a guitar solo on the metal part of the topic would have reinforced and
embellished over this beautiful piece of music.
I waited exactly two months after the release of Horizons for writing this review to be as fair as possible in my appreciations. First of all, I cannot rate this album for my avowed partiality with the band for the respect I deserve these musicians, and because I consider that only the effort involved in making such a masterpiece is more than a creditable 10/10. But I must say that this album with Andromeda Unchained is one of the best Anubis Gate composed in its history. It is a perfect album for where you analyze it, full of details and beautiful melodic passages that will last forever in the ears who will listen. Although I personally would have liked a greater role of the lead guitars on some songs, does not disqualify the work and responds to a strictly personal desire and my marked fanaticism by the way Kim plays guitar.
Noteworthy is the care taken by Kim and Henrik in the realization of the lyrics, some with fictional scenarios, other touching present and personal issues of great content. I wanted to highlight this with a significant phrase chosen by me after each title on every song.
I must say, that the production of the Hansen/Olesen duo is unbeatable, recording, mixing, and mastering done by Jacob Hansen studios make this album the sound perfection is all meticulously maintained, EQ, cymbals sound, double bass drum with bass guitar, distorted guitars, keyboards clarity and vocal Henrik arrangements transform listening in a real pleasure.
I can also say that this is the album where all the musical influences of these magnificent musicians is manifest, breathes classical music with W.A.Mozart, with bands of the '70s, '80s and even '90s as Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Yes, Iron Maiden, U2, Katatonia, and musicians such as Al Di Meola, Jon Anderson, and David Gilmour. Another achievement of this album is the full integration of the new members, who understood perfectly the spirit of Anubis Gate and what it means to be part of such a band. Finally, I think it is a tribute album to former members Torben Askholm, Jesper Jensen, Morten Sorensen and Jacob Hansen too, other commendable gesture by the entire band, which also shows the good relationship that still exists between them.
In short, the great compositional and interpretative qualities of these incredible musicians, make Anubis Gate the leading band in this genre.
Only remains for me to say, I wish fervently that the world values once and for all the excellent qualities of this band, and their music all over the world is distributed.
Long live Anubis Gate!!!
Luis Margarittini / Argentina,15-06-2014
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