Två Sidor Av Horisonten
posted on 9/2009 By:
There was a time when the words "Sweden" and "heavy metal" essentially equated to death metal. Not that our Nordic faction has forsaken all that's bone-snappingly brutal, but there's definitely been a shift of the Swedish spotlight towards more of the proto-doom/retro-rock bands delivering bell-bottomed boogie-woogie the last five years or so. Outfits like Witchcraft and Graveyard seem to be leading the charge, but there's also the likes of Burning Saviours, Asteroid, Norrsken, Dead Man and, you guessed it, Horisont now vying for position as well. Yep, the area that once flooded my imagination with thoughts of streets overrun with long-hair's sporting Nihilist/Carnage/Entombed/Dismember/Unleashed shirts has officially bent towards visions of mutton-chopped fellows in corduroy pants blasting riffs and leads through Orange amplifiers and cabinets. But honestly, the Swedish metal stage is big enough for longships, berserkers, grumble-growlers and nostalgic heshers, as far as I'm concerned.
You'll know the very moment Tva Sidor Av Horisonten starts whether or not this brand of tea is brewed to your taste. "Nightrider" springs from the gate with a thumping, deep rhythm and melodic guitar flare that'd blow the resin right off a Blue Cheer bong-ripper's brain, and the remainder of the album builds on that formula; it's an overall good-feel vibe with a great deal of emphasis placed on delivering the hook through heavy, swaggerin' arena rock flare. "High Time" matches the foot-stomping frolic of the opening "Nightrider", "Just Ain't Right" stokes a bluesy fire with the snap of sassy cowbell, and the aptly named "Horisont Boogie" struts the avenue with an Allman Brothers slide-guitar attack.
The remainder of the record brings the fire down a few notches. "Visa Vagen" and "Tiggaren" maintain the positive mood, but the pace is slowed down a bit alongside some beautifully deep and heavy grooves, making them easily the record's heftiest offerings. "The Unseen" and "Du Rode" casually stroll the path and most closely resemble the band's darker Witchcraft cousin, and the remaining "Oh, My Lord" and "Efter Min Pipa" (personal album highlight) round the album out with the slowest, grimiest swagger perfectly suited for a smoky bar-room show.
There's also a hell-of-a-lotta wailing vocals going on throughout Tva Sidor Av Horisonten, but they really do match up nicely with the album's ballsy retro-styled sound. I'd say Mr. Soderberg is splashing around in a very similar gene pool as Robert Plant, and he really lets the higher end of his register rip on a number of these tunes. It's the final essential element alongside the big riffs, sweet melodic leads and thumping rhythm section that equates to a robust rock record that sounds like it's been steeped in mighty oak barrels for the last 3.5 decades. Pretty impressive, considering it's all coming from a young, relatively unknown band.
If you can't get enough of that brassy, antique hard rock sound, you owe it to yourself to check out Sweden's Horisont.
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