LOST HORIZON "A Flame to the Ground
by Dana Brittingham
6 Highlanders out of 10
What the fuck is this?! It's a painting of 6 guys standing above a planet, with either whirlpools, tornados, or some kind of vortex things at their feet, leading down to an explosion of light on the planet's surface. I get it -- a flame to the ground beneath! Hee! In the background is some kind of nebulae with streaks of lightning coming out of it. Sort of reminds me of a jellyfish getting electrocuted. All this going on in front of a starfield, with comets, meteors, galaxies, and shit like that flying around. 5 of the guys are shirtless, long hair flowing and muscles flexed, and they're all wearing some kind of war paint like extras in the movie Braveheart. The other guy has war-makeup on too, but he's bald. Oh yeah, he's wearing a fucking cape!! Kind of like Ming the Merciless, but without facial hair. Even though the use of color is sparse (it's black and white with a violet/lavender sort of overtone), the quality of the artwork is really good. I don't quite know what to make of it. This band looks like Flash Gordon meets Fozzy. I'm not totally sure. They are funny looking, but they also look like they'd beat your ass, and there's no doubt they're totally fucking metal. And that's all that matters. Right?
8 Battle Star Galacticas out of 10
The cover theme and color scheme continues throughout the 12-page booklet. All 6 dudes in the band get their own page. What made me laugh so hard that I almost had an aneurysm are these guys' stage names. "Equilibrian Epicurius." "Preternatural Transmogrifyer." "Transcendental Protagonist." Shall I keep going? Why the fuck not! "Perspicacious Protector." "Ethereal Mananimus." And last but not least, "Cosmic Antagonist"-- the guy who plays the bass. I have to admit, this booklet is really well designed, and the printing quality is nothing less than over the top. Very professional. All the lyrics and credits are there, and as I mentioned, each band guy gets his own page with all their own thank you notes and kudos. My only complaint is in regards to the middle of the booklet – the 2 center panels are a full-color photo of dark clouds in front of a sunset. Pretty, yes, but doesn't fit in with the otherwise purpley-colored booklet. Kind of looks out of place.
Starship Enterprises out of 10
HOLY FUCK! That's my initial reaction. These are elaborately orchestrated metal compositions, yet still hooky enough that you might still find yourself raising your fist in the air and singing along with the choruses. All the songs are about the glory that is metal. They make me want to raise the goblet of rock and yell at the top of my lungs. Drink thee from thy chalice of metal and all that shit. Seriously! It's kind of hard to describe. Maybe like a blend of Manowar and Dream Theater, yet I dig everything on this disc much more than I ever have dug anything by either of those two bands. The musicianship is phenomenal and the production is over the top. Plus the singer has one of those power metal voices that can leap several octaves while making it sound effortless. Yet his use of the power voice is sparing, so it's never given the chance to become annoying. All of the songs are worth listening to, but my absolute favorite track has been given the title "Cry of a Restless Soul," and with a running time of 8:45, there's certainly a lot of this song to listen to. Check it out.
Comments: I've heard this kind of shit before, but at the same time, I've never heard anything like it. It's just about the cheesiest power metal that I've ever allowed into my ears, and yet, I dig it. Seriously. I got into this CD a lot more than I was expecting to. There is some kind of mythos surrounding Lost Horizon, but I really can't be bothered to learn about the characters these guys are supposed to be and why they're the protectors of the realm of metal, or why they have to sing about it. What I do know is that these guys are from Sweden, except for the lead guitarist, who used to be in some death metal band from Poland that I've never heard of. But death metal this is not. It's old school power metal, and even if you don't dig other bands from that genre like Helloween, Stratovarius, etc., you just might find this palatable. A Flame to the Ground Beneath is actually the second Lost Horizon album, and after hearing this, I might actually go and seek out their first disc. It's that good.