Released: 2003, Music For Nations
Reviewer: Night of the Realm
Here we are but three months into 2003, and already I have the most anticipated new release (at least for me) in my sweaty hands. Lost Horizon created quite the storm in 2001 when they released their incredible speed-power metal debut, AWAKENING THE WORLD on the unsuspecting metal world. New to the band are two additional members, Fredrik Olsson (Equillibrian Epicurius) on guitars, and Attila Publik (Perspicacious Protector) taking care of the keys. Other than that, very little has changed. Lost Horizon still play over-the-top power metal with plenty of gallop and flair. Daniel Heiman still screams like the maniac he is; his powerful, clear voice defining the characteristic sound of Lost Horizon.
Getting A FLAME TO THE GROUND BENEATH into my player as quickly as possible, I am greeted by a typical Lost Horizon intro, following into “Pure.”
Wait a minute...I’m a bit shocked and disappointed here. The leadoff track did not utterly and completely own me as did “Heart of Stone” on the debut. Ok, nothing wrong with the song, but not as catchy as I was expecting from the leadoff.
Minor setback aside, I move along to “Lost in the Depths of Me,” and 8-minute monster of a track. This one is slower, and does not hit quite as hard, though it has some nice synths creating a powerful mood to the track. “Again the Fire Will Burn” follows, though this is the only track on the album I do not care much for.
“Cry of a Restless Soul” is where the album picks up again in full force. Here is the best song on the album; the gallop, the power, is incredible. This is pure Lost Horizon, much like my other favourite LH song “Welcome Back,” from the debut. Here, the addition of hte second guitarist and keyboardist completely flesh out the band and are quite the asset. Though clocking in at over 8 minutes, it rides like a five minute song.
The centerpiece of the album is the twelve-minute epic “Highlander (The One),” which is dedicated to the Highlander movie, the Highlands of Scotland itself, and to Highlander, the previous incarnation of Lost Horizon. I love the driving riffs here, and though the chorus is a bit soft, it perfectly fits the nature of the song.
Out of the 9 tracks on the album, three are interludes/instrumentals. Geez...only six real tracks on the album. That’s one fewer than the seven on AWAKENING. This was one of the major complaints I had with the debut. My other major complaint with A FLAME TO THE GROUND BENEATH is the sequencing of the album. Much like Manowar’s WARRIORS OF THE WORLD, I feel that the tracklisting could have been more balanced instead of placing the weaker (in my opinion) tracks at the beginning of the album. Unlike the debut, A FLAME TO THE GROUND BENEATH did not click with me on first listen. On the second, however, I was hooked. Lost Horizon set the bar very high with their debut, so it’s no surprise that they cannot top it on their second attempt. Still, A FLAME TO THE GROUND BENEATH is a very strong album worthy of the Lost Horizon title. True power metal fans will love this one.