Jonathan Hill

A Soapbox for Uninformed Opinions


Lost Horizon A Flame to the Ground Beneath Review

Lost Horizon A Flame to the Ground Beneath Review

Artist: Lost Horizon
Album: A Flame to the Ground Beneath
Genre(s): Heavy Metal
Subgenres(s): Power Metal, Progressive Metal
Released: 2003
Length: 53 minutes
Language(s): English
Label(s): Music for Nations

Track List:

01. Transdimensional Revelation
02. Pure
03. Lost in the Depths of Me
04. Again Will the Fire Burn
05. The Song of Earth
06. Cry of a Restless Soul
07. Think Not Forever
08. Highlander (The One)
09. Deliverance

Lost Horizon A Flame to the Ground Beneath Cover

A Flame to the Ground Beneath is the second and final album by Swedish metal outfit Lost Horizon. It is a direct continuation of the distinctively uplifting power metal/progressive metal sound that they developed on their first album, Awaken the World.

The songs are longer than before and in keeping with the tradition of progressive music, they contain many verses that can flow easily from one to the next without necessarily having the need for a chorus. The saving grace Lost Horizon balances this out with is never getting wrapped up in taking their songs in a thousand and one directions while maintaining their triumphant sound and positive message about self-empowerment and free will over fate in their lyrics.

Sadly, Lost Horizon still insists on including their ambient interludes which fail to leave a lasting impression. The introduction song, Transdimensional Revelation, is slow on the uptake and doesn’t give any indication as to what A Flame to the Ground Beneath is all about. However it does serve as an excellent buffer to the first metal song, Pure, and gives it a bigger impact when it kicks in seemingly out of nowhere (although it should be noted that like the other songs, it can speak for itself). The odd coupling of ambient interludes and heavy metal is by no means a bad concept but the execution is definitely in need of refinement.

Both the bass and keyboard playing can be heard clearly enough but the bass still finds itself competing with the guitars and drums like it does in many other metal bands. The keyboard tends to find itself in a supporting role but has a few moments to bolster some songs such as Lost in the Depths of Me and Again the Fire Will Burn. It is also the only instrument on the mid-album interlude The Song of Earth, which pleasantly enough turns out to be a full song rather than misguided soundscaping.

Much like Awaken the World, A Flame to the Ground Beneath is sung entirely in English and not being the bands native language, there are some mishaps with the lyrics that don’t flow exactly as they should do. On most occasions Daniel Heiman’s vocal range alone will distract you from this and more than makes up for it.

One of the major highlights of A Flame to the Ground Beneath is Highlander (The One), a 12 minute epic that features some of Daniel Heiman’s most extravagant moments and with all the wailing he does, it would make you think that the entire song was written for him to push his voice to the limit. The last minute of the song is by far one of the best metal moments committed to a recording. Unfortunately A Flame to the Ground Beneath ends with the interlude Deliverance. This deals a significant blow to the flow of the album as it should have ended on Highlander (The One) to give you the massive triumphant feeling that Lost Horizon is all about.

The songs (that go from 6 to 12 minutes) might sound daunting on first impressions but Lost Horizon have the musical chops to back up their ambitious goals and present another significant entry into the power metal/progressive metal catalogue with A Flame to the Ground Beneath.


Children of Bodom Follow the Reaper Review

Children of Bodom Follow the Reaper Review

Artist: Children of Bodom
Album: Follow the Reaper
Genre(s): Heavy Metal
Subgenres(s): Power Metal
Released: 2000
Length: 38 minutes
Language(s): English
Label(s): Nuclear Blast, Spine Farm

Track List:

01. Follow the Reaper
02. Bodom After Midnight
03. Children of Decadence
04. Everytime I Die
05. Mask of Sanity
06. Taste of My Scythe
07. Hate Me!
08. Northern Comfort
09. Kissing the Shadows

Children of Bodom Follow the Reaper Cover

Follow the Reaper is the 3rd album by Finnish metal quintet Child of Bodom. It shows the band stepping away from the black metal tinged sound of Something Wild and Hatebreeder to focus on traditional heavy metal offshoot speed metal and the well-established subgenre of power metal.

Vocalist and lead guitarist Alexi Laiho manages to retain his high pitched screech that makes him sound like an aggravated troll that just found out that someone has walked over his bridge. He is still impossible to understand even if the lyrics are written out in front of you. This makes you wonder if the lyrics where written just for the sake of having a vocalist as Follow the Reaper would have made for a fantastic instrumental album otherwise. This won’t be of any detriment to their fans but it will certainly ward off many other potential listeners.

The drums, bass and second guitar all find themselves in strict rhythm roles on Follow the Reaper and while the drums and guitar are easy to hear, the bass is reduced to background noise unless the listener pays close attention to it.

Children of Bodom haven’t gone through a metamorphosis in their decision to move away from their black metal influence but it is still easy to hear where their well-earned reputation stems from on Follow the Reaper. The most impressive aspects the album are the premier song-writing abilities of Alexi Laiho and the interaction between himself and keyboard player Janne Wirman. These elements are what make Follow the Reaper a staple of the Children of Bodom discography and a highlight of the metal scene upon its release.