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Anubis Gate - "Horizons" (CD)

Anubis Gate - "Horizons" CD cover image

"Horizons" track listing:

1. Destined To Remember
2. Never Like This (A Dream)
3. Hear My Call
4. Airways
5. Revolution Come Undone
6. Breach of Faith
7. Mindlessness
8. Horizons
9. A Dream Within A Dream
10. Erasure

Reviewed by on April 22, 2014

"In short, the band delivers not just an exciting and intriguing anomaly of a sixth album, but an entire world of sound to be explored."

Anubis Gate isn’t so much about making music as it is about creating entire worlds -- worlds of sound, richly textured, intricate, and full of space. From one album to the next, the band flips the schematics around and elaborates on the designs of the past, becoming more enigmatic and unique. This time, guided by largely the same team responsible for the comparably large-scale self-titled effort of 2011 (which we had noted as “an impossibly grand effort that only enemies of melody could justifiably dislike”), Anubis Gate has created a world of extreme depth and beauty with “Horizons.”

Emerging out of an etherial essence of keyboards, “Destined To Remember” establishes a complexity of chord progressions within the first few minutes that is to set the tone for the rest of the album. The key changes are often drastic and the chord shapes are filled with clusters of notes rich in contrast, but more important is the glue holding it all together: the pacing. From section to section, the songwriting is very even, designed for maximum emotional and visceral impact.

The overall sound of this album is comparable to “Anubis Gate,” with noted mix engineer and aural architect Jacob Hansen (who is also the ex-vocalist of the band) taking the reigns, filling in the gaps with clear and insistent sample programming. Songs like the deep “Never Like This (A Dream),” “Mindlessness,” and the title track, “Horizons” show a penchant for classic riffing and major melodic development. Further, songs like “Hear My Call,” “Airways,” and “Breach of Faith” offer lush choruses centered on the vocals of Henrik Fevre, still a bit more emotionally evocative than his predecessor, Mr. Hansen.

The highlights are most assuredly the interconnected songs “Never Like This (A Dream)” and “Dream Within A Dream,” together making up just short of 20 minutes. Much like their influence, Christopher Nolan’s landmark film “Inception,” layers abound within, leading to a very effective and rewarding development of themes which pushes the complexity level of progressive metal. “Airways” does much the same, although over the course of seven minutes, with 3 unique movements within the song with entire corresponding tempo shifts and luscious keyboard textures.

Fans of earlier Anubis Gate records will surely be as pleased as fans of newer Anubis Gate records. In short, the band delivers not just an exciting and intriguing anomaly of a sixth album, but an entire world of sound to be explored. This is easily one of the deepest progressive albums to dig into from the first half of this decade, with levels of complexity to be revealed on repeat listens in good headphones.

Highs: The Inception-influenced suite of “Never Like This” and “Dream Within A Dream”

Lows: The rhythms are occasionally tricky to catch, even to the musically-inclined.

Bottom line: Anubis Gate expands the horizons of progressive metal with this sixth release.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)