Review Summary: The love child of Emperor and Gojira you need to know about.
While name dropping prominent bands helps identify an album’s sound as much as a book cover helps tell a novel’s story there comes a time where over-reaching comparisons can fit the bill perfectly, even if it sets the bar high. Fairly enough, the argument could be made that if the references didn’t make any sense they simply wouldn’t be mentioned. Hailing from the prestigious Norway, Horizon Ablaze play a culmination of black metal, progressive metal and subtle deathened avant-garde with an uncanny similarity to the genre defining bands mentioned above. Most importantly however is their ability to showcase The Weight Of A Thousand Suns
as a unique play on Horizon Ablaze’s styles, rather than ripping a few influential sounds into something cliché and forgettable. Weirdly enough Horizon Ablaze has made one of “black” metal’s most accessible modern records, developed from well-thought song writing, sound technical ability and an album chock-full of technical greatness.
At times The Weight Of A Thousand Suns
defies simple genre identification. Typically snarling, gnarled black metal screeches dominate the album’s forty-five minute run-time giving life to the tumultuous contrasts between “old-school” (Emperor meets Secrets Of The Moon) and “modern” heavy metal al a Gojira driven riff work that define The Weight Of A Thousand Suns
a magnate hinting at future glory. For Horizon Ablaze, their 2018 record is but the band’s third offering, showing considerable growth between albums, aided by a clear, professional production.
Aesthetically, this album can be seen as a dream come true for modern day realists looking forward to the natural growth of metal. Sticking to the formulaic structuring and soundscapes set by the pioneers of music way back when is a testament to particular genre-roots and a death curse that will readily devour new, current and older acts. The Weight Of A Thousand Suns
brings the ‘better’ parts of the older styles with the more modern and accessible roots shown by younger bands. While there are positives on both sides of the argument bands like Horizon Ablaze refuse to show stagnation – whatever the cost.
Highlights emerge throughout The Weight Of A Thousand Suns
. Behind the snarled vocal efforts and sheer aggressive tones of album opener, ‘Sleep Is The Brother Of Death’ to the prog-laced, melodious reprieve of ‘Insidious’ Horizon Ablaze’s 2018 record stays remarkably heavy, even if two different sides of the coin are on display. It becomes difficult to articulate how a single track highlights this record as each of The Weight Of A Thousand Suns
’ eight tracks are worthy of separate mention. Even the rare use of clean vocals on a typical black metal track (shown in the form of the album’s closer, ‘Insidious’) contrast completely with the shrieked passages further engaging the listener with each repeated spin of the record. Of particular note is The Weight Of A Thousand Suns
’ middle section. ‘Ghost Of A Previous Nightmare’ brings some of the band’s most ferocious riff work to the fore-front, identifying the band’s instrumental ability. A-typical black metal soundscapes blend into prog-laced death metal culminating in some well-placed (and not overused) pinch harmonics that squeal through the speakers. The vocal intensity lifts, becoming less of a snarl and more of a demanding scream. It may have taken Horizon Ablaze three albums to define themselves as a band, but it will take one listen of The Weight Of A Thousand Suns
to earn this Norwegian group a following to rival veteran acts with twice as many studio efforts.
Overall, The Weight Of A Thousand Suns
is a grower that sets the bar high, relying on a cathartic, primal aggressiveness and excellent song-writing. At times the album is dark, sinister foreboding in atmosphere, while respectively the record becomes light, transparent revelling in its ability to blend styles together seamlessly. Despite just how much is going on here, The Weight Of A Thousand Suns
remains constantly accessible, and constantly enjoyable, showcasing a best of all worlds formula that should appeal to many. If you like your metal to be forward thinking, absent of gimmicks and with a somewhat unique flair, Horizon Ablaze tick all the right boxes circa 2018. The Weight Of A Thousand Suns
is an album you just can’t put down – not that you would want to.