Second Assault

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There are two possible angles to approach Horisont's sophomore album, Second Assault: as an eclectic collection of songs devised by a band that refuses to be pigeonholed, or one still unsure of what it wants to be. Not that either scenario is necessarily a bad thing. For the most part, the band's largely fantasy-fueled, subtlety-free lyrical preoccupations suggest that heavy metal hearts pound beneath their chests, and the forceful guitar thrust of material like "Time Warrior," "Road to Cairo," and the title track (where Axel Söderberg's piercing screams recall a young Geddy Lee) doesn't do much to contradict that assumption. Heck, the dueling guitars of "Thunderflight" practically scream of Iron Maiden's considerable influence upon these Swedes. But as revealed by several comparatively restrained, more nuanced compositions such as the melancholy "Crusaders of Death," the aching "On the Run," and even the urgent "Hard Bargain," there's in fact a modern psychedelic rock band sharing much in common with compatriots Graveyard hiding behind Horisont's tough-guy façade -- hey, depending on how these musicians develop in years to come, maybe even some bona fide disciples of Peter Green's bluesy Fleetwood Mac, if all goes well (rather than a Scandinavian version of the Parlor Mob). So pick your angle of approach to Second Assault, and take Horisont as you will, but neither angle can change the fact that most of these songs are both engaging and intriguing in their own right.

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