REVIEW: New Horizon – Conquerors

0
576

Swedish melodic metal act NEW HORIZON is back with a new lineup as Nils Molin (DYNAZTY, AMARANTHE) has joined multi-instrumentalist Jona Tee for the new album, “Conquerors.” As per its title, the album aims to spotlight historical and biblical figures that have left their mark on the world, for better or worse. The band’s sophomore album is out on June 14th, 2024, via Frontiers Music.

Picking up where the band left off, “Conquerors” is as heavy and melodic as “Gate of the Gods” (2022) but with a lot of nuances and moods coming not just from the stories it tells but also from the way Nils and Jona decided to tell them. As such, some songs are more melodic and catchy while others are dark and ominous but all very well grounded by what could possibly be Nils Molin’s best and most versatile vocal performance yet. Lyric-wise, the first two singles – “Daimyo” and “King of Kings” – already showcase the expanse of their narratives going from feudal Japan to biblical times with great ease.

However, it’s the attention to detail that elevates the songs and makes each one of them stand out from the rest. If “Daimyo” is a vocally driven onslaught of melody softened by the backing synths, it is church hymn turned metal anthem “King of Kings” that is one of the album’s neat little surprises as this is the type of track I would expect from a band like THEOCRACY. From the delicate intro, through the fast-paced verses and catchy chorus all the way to the incredible solo from Love Magnusson (DYNAZTY, CROWNE) and layered vocals that act like a choir this track is nothing short of spectacular. Going backward through the tracklist, opener “Against the Odds” is a power metal number with thunderous double bass drumming and speedy guitar melodies that perfectly complement the soaring vocal delivery while the solo injects a bit of melody to the fold. “Shadow Warrior” balances between really aggressive verses and a melodic chorus with intense vocals and driving rhythms that ruthlessly propel it forward. Vocally, this is one of Nils’ best performances on the album.

Since the main drive of this album is the stories it tells, let us dig into some of them as the trio of songs that make up the middle of the album detail crucial moments in history. The mid-paced AOR number Apollo” is not about the Greek God by the same name, instead narrating the space race between Russia and the USA at the height of the Cold War. The staccato delivery in the chorus and the easy-to-sing-along melody in the verses could make this a fan favorite if ever played live, with a magnificent solo to cap it off. Next, we have the heavy and dark “Fallout War” and (arguably) Nils’ second-best performance on this album as he goes from eerie lows and harsher tones to incredible melodic highs. The song strongly echoes Cillian Murphy’s Oscar acceptance speech that “for better or for worse we’re all living in Oppenheimer’s world” with its gloomy atmosphere, pounding drums, and ominous message. On the other hand, with its arena-size chorus and abundance of sparkling keys, “Messenger of the Stars” is the album’s bona fide melodic metal hit. It’s still a muscular number with a great solo and tight rhythms underneath the vocals but has this breezy feel to it as it talks about our place in the universe, revolving around the Sun.

Moving on to the final stretch of the album, the ballad “Before The Dawn” is the album’s most beautiful and emotional moment as it features the warm vocals of Elize Ryd and spreads a message of hope and trust in a better tomorrow. It is the most minimalistic track on the record with delicate percussions and just vocals only to build in intensity for the final chorus. What follows is possibly the most intriguing and dynamic track on the album, “Edge of Insanity.” From the intro that sets the stage for a story about breaking boundaries and conquering new frontiers in aerospace, through the synth accents and pounding drums all the way to the high-octane chorus and galloping rhythms, this is a real rush of adrenaline and energy. Closing this album is a cover of IRON MAIDEN’s epic “Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C),” complete with sprawling instrumental passages and fast-paced verses that bring the tale of one of the world’s greatest military conquerors to life in vibrant colors.

All-in-all, “Conquerors” offers not just history lessons but also a masterclass in storytelling and songwriting as each song has just the right amount of drama and theatrical accents to enhance the narrative. Being story-based, this album is mostly a vocally driven affair but the drum work courtesy of Georg Härnstern Egg (DYNAZTY) as well as the guitar leads and solos also need mentioning here as being some of the highlights of the record. This was a passion project that resulted in a collection of melodic metal anthems that will certainly delight metalheads and history buffs alike.

Written by Andrea Crow

Tracklist

  1. Against The Odds
  2. King of Kings
  3. Daimyo
  4. Shadow Warrior
  5. Apollo
  6. Fallout War
  7. Messenger of The Stars
  8. Before The Dawn
  9. Edge of Insanity
  10. Alexander The Great (356-323 B.C)

Lineup

Jona Tee
Nils Molin

Label

Frontiers Music

Links

Instagram | Facebook