Review Summary: The Best Power Metal Album of All Time. For this reviewer it is the Best Album of All Time.
Have you ever heard an album so perfect that even its minuscule faults are better than most bands best work? I had been struggling to find such an album for quite some time. However a moment that can be considered more of “duh” than “eureka!!” finally occurred. While artists like Nightwish, Edge of Sanity, Mono, Yndi Halda, and Antonio Vivaldi have made albums and works so breathtakingly inspiring and memorable, none have come close to A Flame To The Ground Beneath
by Swedish power metallers Lost Horizon. While they are essentially non existent at this moment, the music that they created from 2001-2003 is arguably the best I have ever heard. This album takes everything from 2001s Awakening the World
and adds a level of greatness not heard before or since for this reviewer.
My original review of this album was pretty subpar for what should be required to write of an album of this caliber. Most of that review focused only on one man, Daniel Heiman, and gushed too much about him instead of talking about the entire work. While Heiman’s vocals will be covered, the rest of the band really does shine in a way that most people have not recognized. Attila Pubik is the band’s keyboardist and he does a phenomenal job in the role he performs on this album. While there are no traditional keyboard solos on the record, Pubik is the ethereal atmosphere that the album portrays. His synthesizer lines in “Cry of a Restless Soul,” “Lost in the Depths of Me,” and “Think Not Forever” give the album an extra layer and emotional touch that would not have been present without it.
The “rhythm” section of this album consists of the drummer, bassist, and both guitarists: Christian Nyquist, Martin Furängen, Fredrik Olsson, and Wojtek Lisicki respectively. The tight performances they perform on the six songs are just as remarkable as the vocals. Every guitar riff/solo, drum fill, and bass line is meticulously placed to create the best sound possible for a power metal album. Credit has to be given Furängen though. While Olsson and Lisicki are great guitarists and Nyquist gives fantastic performances like “Cry of a Restless Soul,” Furängen’s bass is stunning. Out of the almost 100 power metal albums I have heard over the past six years, none have had the bass stand out as much as this one. Besides the vocals, Furängen’s contribution to this record is the best thing about the band.
But, of course, the vocals are easily the best thing about the album and band. Daniel Heiman’s voice is unlike any I have heard in any genre. His ability to effortlessly shift the tone of his voice from high to low is nothing but outstanding, and his high notes are among the best in the world. Every song on this album has at least one “whoa” moment that makes the listener question how the man even does it. “Pure,” “Cry of a Restless Soul,” and “Highlander (The One)” go beyond that notion and are filled with those moments. Aside from the ridiculously high notes that Daniel wails during the album, his actual singing voice is amazing as well. Listen to “Highlander (The One)” and get ready to be blown away by twelve minutes of some of the best singing anyone has ever done.
There is no denying it, A Flame To The Ground Beneath
is the best album anyone has ever made in the history of music. While this is a bold claim, no one should expect any less from this power metal aficionado. For close to eight years I have really delved deep into the heart of music and attempted to find the “perfect” album. In reality, this is the only one that has had the opportunity to reach perfection. From the powerful crunch of the guitars, the atmospheric keys, the heart pounding drums, and the riveting bass, this album already had a chance to succeed. Add a vocalist that seems truly ethereal and the album has the recipe for perfection. What really creates those aspects and makes this album the only perfect album is the level of organization, placement, and overall writing of the songs. Yes there are three interludes that seem unnecessary and yes there are only six true songs. However those six songs and three interludes are perfect for each other. As someone who has adored the genre of power metal for seven years and wants people to listen to what the best of the genre has to offer, listen to this album. If you have never enjoyed the genre and find it cheesy/horrible, listen to this album. If I want to listen to the best that music has to offer, I am going to listen to this album.