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(53:48, Angelic Noise Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Life Fantastic 7:38 2. Living Water Prelude 1:09 3. Age of Wonders 7:16 4. Time Horizon 4:11 5. Forgiveness 7:14 6. Feel the Change 4:32 7. Me Chili Caliente 2:49 8. I Am Not Alone 8:35 9. Living Water 3:24 10. Paradise 7:00 LINEUP: Ralph Otteson Ц keyboards; vocals Bruce Gaetke Ц vocals; drums Dave Dickerson Ц guitars Steve Gourly Ц bass With: Jeff Garner Ц guitars; vocals Phil Segrue Ц bass
Prolusion. The US band TIME HORIZON can trace their roots back to 2004, when Ralph Otteson and Bruce Gaetke started working on a project. The cooperation leads to a friendship and a band in that order, Time Horizon born somewhere along the way. "Living Water" is their debut album, and was released through Angel Noise Records in the summer of 2011.
Analysis. It won't take any listener too long to establish one fact about the members of Time Horizon: they are devoted Christians. Their support of the Living Water Project, a company with the slogan -Give a cup of water in Jesus name- indicates that religion has a role for these folks, and the lyrical part of their initial production confirms it. They have a faith and it's one important to them, this is reflected and referenced throughout this disc. Musically they don't seem to be quite certain about where they want to place themselves. Not that there is an expansive stylistic span, it's more like a merry-go-round with two stops, one of them symphonic art rock and the other pomp rock. Accessible and melody based music in both instances, mostly devoid of dramatic contrasts, disharmonic details or other effects of a challenging nature. The compositions are fairly sophisticated however, arguably in arrangements rather than compositional structures as I experience this material. The first half of this disc is the one that impressed me most. Apart from a brief venture into realms residing somewhere in between Vangelis and Tangerine Dream on Time Horizon, we're served a fair few fine examples of symphonic art rock on what would have been the A side of a good, old vinyl LP: symphonic backdrops aplenty, vocal harmonies and strong melodies, positive and vibrant music, uplifting if you like, giving me associations towards band like Spock's Beard. From Feel the Change and onwards we're taken on to an AOR and pomp rock ride, the compositions subtly less refined in nature, with dominant guitar riffs constructions on the said track and final effort Paradise. We're also treated with a piano ballad bookended by symphonic art rock passages on I Am Not Alone, following by an acoustic guitar piece, Me Chili Caliente. The main exception on this half of the album merits a special mention too: the subtly tribal inspired Living Water, is a spirited affair that begs for a Sunday morning church performance by someone at some point time. Lead vocals, vocal harmonies and fairly sophisticated keyboard motifs appear to be the major assets of this band, and these come to their right best in the opening pieces of the disc, apart from the aforementioned exception obviously. On the later AOR-tinged features these elements don't quite manage to elevate the material as extensively to my ears, perhaps because materials of that nature rely so much upon these aspects of the composition and performance in the first place.
Conclusion. Time Horizon has made an accomplished debut album with "Living Water", where the first half in particular impresses with its distinctly harmonic, melodic and uplifting variety of symphonic progressive rock. The AOR and pomp rock tendencies on the second half aren't as enticing to my ears, but pleasant enough material as such. Fans of bands like Saga and Spock's Beard should be something of a target audience for this band I presume, in particular if you don't mind lyrical topics of a religious nature.
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