Horisont is a band with so few active years, but so much really good music. “Sudden Death” is their sixth record to-date and this is not a surprise to me, how good this record is! One record after the other, the band has produced a variety of sounds, influences, and overall songs, and has pretty much evolved since 2009, the year of their first album release. I am telling you: they have so much to offer still.

“Sudden Death” is a keyboard influenced album, clearly. Not that their previous albums did not have keyboards, on the contrary. However, this is a definitive effort to focus more on vocals and keyboards, as the core – let’s say – of their songwriting. The sound of late 70s (more in particular) and early 80s is again on the forefront, the glamour and shinny keyboards and synthesizers really make the difference.
To me it seems that they have taken their sound one step further the excellent previous two records, the concept and narrative “Odyssey” and the more AOR like feeling “About Time”.

On this one, what has been done is a really good work on how the songs have been structured, without compromising their trademark elements from all 5 members and staying true to their sound, the sound that built their fan base actually. The choruses are catchy, the rhythm section is absolutely well organized and solid, the guitar solos and leads are so enjoyable. All over the record, you can find references and influences from Wishbone Ash, Journey, Boston, and also Blue Oyster Cult (from their early 80s era). The album is overall straightforward and really cohesive, but on the other hand there is a /dynamic diversity within the songs, which keeps the interest on every second. It has been mentioned before, but I really find it working on an excellent way, to have the dual guitars (solos and leads) together with the mellow and soft keyboards and piano. This is done on an absolutely brilliant way and adds a very unique sound and approach to the record. Of course, the trademark Axel’s vocals delivers probably the best and most emotional vocals so far with Horisont. Moreover, this band has of course a fantastic vocalist, but the backing vocals should be praised as well, because it adds so much on the overall feeling, harmonies and dynamics of this record. And also, a song on Swedish lyrics could not be left out, so, the beautiful “Gråa Dagar” – in English ‘Gray Days’ – makes the record more personal, more unique and special.

“Sudden Death” is probably my favorite album of the band so far, simply because it is the cornerstone of the fact that it has all their songwriting trademark elements from day one of their discography, but on the other hand, is a fresh, consistent effort which takes the band to another level of inspiration, genuine songwriting and blends a lot of diverse foundations. Something which proves of what this band is really capable for. Enjoy!

P.S.: The band gave an awesome online live on May 16th in Pustervik Göteborg (supported by the great Spiders), where we also listened to some of the songs from the new record. They were joined by a saxophone and an acoustic guitar and the overall result was great! Till next time we see the band live, Skål!

♦ 9/10

Antonis Mantzavinos