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(57:48, Melodic Revolution Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Only One 7:00 2. Only Through Faith 2:10 3. Only Today 7:00 4. Prisoner 9:00 5. The Moment Is Here 4:43 6. About Time 5:25 7. You're All I Need 5:45 8. River of Sorrows 4:30 9. Water Girl 4:30 10. Love Is Here 7:45 LINEUP: Ralph Otteson – keyboards; vocals Bruce Gaetke – drums; vocals Dave Miller – guitars Allen White – bass With: Rich Reif – vocals Michael Mullen – violin Tony Kaye (ex-Yes) – Hammond Billy Sherwood (ex-Yes) – guitars Jake Livgren (Proto-Kaw) – vocals Lang Bliss – drums, percussion Dan Eidem – drums Jeff Garner – guitars David Wallimann – guitars Gary Gehman – backing vocals
Prolusion. The US band TIME HORIZON was formed sometime after musicians Ralph Otteson and Bruce Gaetke started working on a project together back in 2004. At some point they had their own band-project going, and in 2011 they released their debut album "Living Water". "Transitions" is their sophomore effort, jointly released by the band's own label Angelic Noise Records and the US label Melodic Revolution Records.
Analysis. Time Horizon is a band that will puzzle a few listeners, as their take on progressive rock is one that is channeled through a few slightly unexpected approaches, as well as not always sticking to the expected course of a band aiming towards that market segment. On this album I often find them to reside on the borderlines between a more mainstream-oriented variety of rock and more purebred variety of progressive rock. The danger there is that may be experienced as being too sophisticated for some mainstream or classic rock fans and not quite sophisticated enough for the more avid progressive rock fans. Then again, there are bands out there that have made successful careers doing just that. Opening cut Only One is a very good example of that, a piece of what some would describe as pomp rock, blending aesthetics from AOR, hard rock and progressive rock in a melodic and compelling manner, and in a way that would have made feel right at home on an album such as Magnum's "On a Storyteller's Night". And I'd say that much of the rest of the album also belongs inside such a general context, where bands like Magnum and FM frequently come to mind when listening through this CD. The guitars are generally dampened, alternating between compact careful riffs, wandering gentle guitar motifs, from both electric and acoustic guitars, and occasional use of guitar riffs of a more powerful variety. The keyboards tend to be layered and fairly smooth, adding a soft sheen to the proceedings, but also adding something more of an emphasis on the progressive rock aspect of matters with unexpected details here and there, occasional clever use of vintage organ, and a liberal amount of solo runs of the kind that should hit right at home within a progressive rock-oriented crowd. On the gentler escapades the piano comes to its right in a strong and compelling manner, and on concluding composition Love Is Here we're also treated to a fine and spirited interaction between guitars, keyboards and violin. The icing on the cake is high quality lead vocals and vocal harmonies throughout, and the excellent mix and production also manage to elevate the end result here on to a higher level, in my opinion.
Conclusion. While arguably more of a pomp rock production than a progressive rock one per se, those with an interest in neo-progressive rock as well as symphonic progressive rock should both find familiar sounds and arrangements on this disc. But as far as specific recommendations go, I'd wager that those with a soft spot for mid ‘80s Magnum might be something of a key audience for this album, and especially those among them who also have an interest in accessible and compelling progressive rock.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: December 7, 2015
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